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Full text of "Stories from the Arabian nights"

NY PUBLIC LIBRARY THE BRANCH LIBRARIES 



3 3333 11681 9026 



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STORIES FROM THE ARABIAN 

NIGHTS 





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All Rights Reserved 



Printed in 1911 



NEW YORK < 
G LIBRARY, 












etc 



* * ' 



* * 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

ALT BABA AND THE FORTY THIEVES 

1. Their chief in a low but distinct voice uttered the 

two words ' Open, Sesame ' 

2. Ali Baba departed for the town a well satisfied 

man 

3. As soon as he came in she began to jeer at him 

4. Having transformed himself by disguise 



5. She poured mto each jar in torn- a sufficient quan- 

y i **.,> * , * i 

tity of the boiling -03 to: scald the occupant to 
death >.-. ;. .' 



, j , i . . 


, > > 



6. Then for the last figure of all she drew out the 
dagger 



ft 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

THE STORY OF THE WICKED HALF- 
BROTHERS 

7. There appeared before him an old man of vener- 

able appearance 

8. Pirouze the fairest and most honourably born 



THE STORY OF THE PRINCESS OF 
DERYABAR 

9. And presently feeling myself lifted by men's 
hands 

10. She and her companion arrived at the city of 
Harran 



. 





. . 



ii. And taking her hand he led hereto the apartments 
of the Queen Pirouie; ; 



12. After these, maidens on White horses, with heads 
unveiled, bearing in their hands baskets of 
precious stones 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

THE STORY OF THE MAGIC HORSE 

13. As he descended the daylight in which hitherto he 

had been travelling faded from view 

14. At so arrogant a claim all the courtiers burst into 

loud laughter 

15. Till the tale of her mirror contented her 

16. She gave orders for the banquet to be served 

17. All this time the princess had been watching the 

combat from the roof of the palace 

18. It was in vain that all the wisest physicians in the 

country were summoned into consultation 



THE FISHERMAN AND THE GENIE 

19. No sooner had the monarch seen them, so strange 

of form and so brilliant and diverse in hue 

20. Whereupon one upset the pan into the fire 

21. He arrived within sight of a palace of shining 

marble 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

THE STORY OF THE KING OF THE EBONY 

ISLES 

22. Supposing me asleep they began to talk 

23. The Queen of the Ebony Isles 

24. Great was the astonishment of the vizier and the 

sultan's escort 



ALI BABA AND THE FORTY 

THIEVES 



ALI BABA AND THE FORTY 

THIEVES 

IN a town in Persia lived two brothers named 
Cassim and Ali Baba, between whom their father 
at his death had left what little property he 
possessed equally divided. Cassim, however, 
having married the heiress of a rich merchant, 
became soon after his marriage the owner of a 
fine shop, together with several pieces of land, 
and was in consequence, through no effort of his 
own, the most considerable merchant in the town. 
Ali Baba, on the other hand, was married to one 
as poor as himself, and having no other means 
of gaining a livelihood he used to go every day 
into the forest to cut wood, and lading therewith 
the three asses which were his sole stock-in-trade, 
would then hawk it about the streets for sale. 

One day while he was at work within the 
skirts of the forest, Ali Baba saw advancing 
towards him across the open a large company of 
horsemen, and fearing from their appearance that 
they might be robbers, he left his asses to their 



ALT BABA AND THE 

own devices and sought safety for himself in the 
lower branches of a large tree which grew in the 
close overshadowing of a precipitous rock. 

Almost immediately it became evident that 
this very rock was the goal toward which the 
troop was bound, for having arrived they alighted 
instantly from their horses, and took down each 
man of them a sack which seemed by its weight 
and form to be rilled with gold. There could no 
longer be any doubt that they were robbers. 
Ali Baba counted forty of them. 

Just as he had done so, the one nearest to him, 
who seemed to be their chief, advanced toward 
the rock, and in a low but distinct voice uttered 
the two words, ' Open, Sesame ! ' Immediately 
the rock opened like a door, the captain and his 
men passed in, and the rock closed behind them. 

For a long while Ali Baba waited, not daring 
to descend from his hiding-place lest they should 
come out and catch him in the act ; but at last, 
when the waiting had grown almost unbearable, 
his patience was rewarded, the door in the rock 
opened, and out came the forty men, their cap- 
tain leading them. When the last of them was 
through, ' Shut, Sesame ! ' said the captain, and 
immediately the face of the rock closed together 
as before. Then they all mounted their horses 
and rode away. 



FORTY THIEVES 

As soon as he felt sure that they were not 
returning, All Baba came down from the tree 
and made his way at once to that part of the 
rock where he had seen the captain and his men 
enter. And there at the word ' Open, Sesame ! ' 
a door suddenly revealed itself and opened. 
: Ali Baba had expected to find a dark and 
gloomy cavern. Great was his astonishment 
therefore when he perceived a spacious and 
vaulted chamber lighted from above through a 
fissure in the rock ; and there spread out before 
him lay treasures in profusion, bales of mer- 
chandise, silks, carpets, brocades, and above all 
gold and silver lying in loose heaps or in sacks 
piled one upon another. He did not take long 
to consider what he should do. Disregarding the 
silver and the gold that lay loose, he brought to 
the mouth of the cave as many sacks of gold as 
he thought his three asses might carry ; and 
having loaded them on and covered them with 
wood so that they might not be seen, he closed 
the rock by the utterance of the magic words 
which he had learned, and departed for the town, 
a well-satisfied man. 

When he got home he drove his asses into a 
small court, and shutting the gates carefully he 
took off the wood that covered the bags and 
carried them in to his wife. She, discovering 



ALI BABA AND THE 

them to be full of gold, feared that her husband 
had stolen them, and began sorrowfully to re- 
proach him ; but All Baba soon put her mind 
at rest on that score, and having poured all the 
gold into a great heap upon the floor he sat down 
at her side to consider how well it looked. 

Soon his wife, poor careful body, must needs 
begin counting it over piece by piece. Ali Baba 
let her go on for awhile, but before long the sight 
set him laughing. ' Wife,' said he, ' you will 
never make an end of it that way. The best 
thing to do is to dig a hole and bury it, then we 
shall be sure that it is not slipping through our 
fingers.' ' That will do well enough,' said his 
wife, ' but it would be better first to have the 
measure of it. So while you dig the hole I will 
go round to Cassim's and borrow a measure small 
enough to give us an exact reckoning. ' Do as 
you will,' answered her husband, ' but see that 
you keep the thing secret/ 

Off went Ali Baba's wife to her brother-in- 
law's house. Cassim was from home, so she 
begged of his wife the loan of a small measure, 
naming for choice the smallest. This set the 
sister-in-law wondering. Knowing Ali Baba's 
poverty she was all the more curious to find out 
for what kind of grain so small a measure could 
be needed. So before bringing it she covered 



FORTY THIEVES 

all the bottom with lard, and giving it to AH 
Baba's wife told her to be sure and be quick in 
returning it. The other, promising to restore it 
punctually, made haste to get home ; and there 
finding the hole dug for its reception she started 
to measure the money into it. First she set the 
measure upon the heap, then she filled it, then 
she carried it to the hole ; and so she continued 
till the last measure was counted. Then, leav- 
ing AH Baba to finish the burying, she carried 
back the measure with all haste to her sister-in- 
law, returning thanks for the loan. 

No sooner was her back turned than Cassim's 
wife looked at the bottom of the measure, and 
there to her astonishment she saw sticking to 
the lard a gold coin. ' What ? ' she cried, her 
heart filled with envy, ' is AH Baba so rich that 
he needs a measure for his gold ? Where, then, 
I would know, has the miserable wretch obtained 
it?' 

She waited with impatience for her husband's 
return, and as soon as he came in she began to 
jeer at him. ' You think yourself rich,' said 
she, ' but AH Baba is richer. You count your 
gold by the piece, but AH Baba does not count, 
he measures it ! In comparison to AH Baba we 
are but grubs and groundlings ! ' 

Having thus riddled him to the top of her 



ALI BABA AND THE 

bent in order to provoke his curiosity, she told 
him the story of the borrowed measure, of her 
own stratagem, and of its result. 

Cassim, instead of being pleased at Ali Baba's 
sudden prosperity, grew furiously jealous ; not a 
wink could he sleep all night for thinking of it. 
The next morning before sunrise he went to his 
brother's house. ' Ali Baba,' said he, ' what 
do you mean by pretending to be poor when all 
the time you are scooping up gold by the quart ? ' 
' Brother,' said Ali Baba, ' explain your mean- 
ing.' ' My meaning shall be plain ! ' cried Cassim, 
displaying the tell-tale coin. ' How many more 
pieces have you like this that my wife found 
sticking to the bottom of the measure yesterday ? ' 

Ali Baba, perceiving that the intervention of 
wives had made further concealment useless, 
told his brother the true facts of the case, and 
offered him, as an inducement for keeping the 
secret, an equal share of the treasure. 

' That is the least that I have the right to 
expect,' answered Cassim haughtily. ' It is fur- 
ther necessary that you should tell me exactly 
where the treasure lies, that I may, if need be, 
test the truth of your story, otherwise I shall find 
it my duty to denounce you to the authorities.' 

Ali Baba, having a clear conscience, had little 
fear of Cassim's threats ; but out of pure good 



FORTY THIEVES 

nature he gave him all the information he desired, 
not forgetting to instruct him in the words which 
would give him free passage into the cave and 
out again. 

Cassim, who had thus secured all he had come 
for, lost no time in putting his project into execu- 
tion. Intent on possessing himself of all the 
treasures which yet remained, he set off the 
next morning before daybreak, taking with him 
ten mules laden with empty crates. Arrived 
before the cave, he recalled the words which 
his brother had taught him ; no sooner was 
' Open, Sesame ! ' said than the door in the rock 
lay wide for him to pass through, and when he 
had entered it shut again. 

If the simple soul of Ali Baba had found delight 
in the riches of the cavern, greater still was the 
exultation of a greedy nature like Cassim's. 
Intoxicated with the wealth that lay before 
his eyes, he had no thought but to gather together 
with all speed as much treasure as the ten mules 
could carry ; and so, having exhausted him- 
self with heavy labour and avaricious excitement, 
he suddenly found on returning to the door 
that he had forgotten the key which opened it. 
Up and down, and in and out through the mazes 
of his brain he chased the missing word. Barley, 
and maize, and rice, he thought of them all : 



ALI BABA AND THE 

but of sesame never once, because his mind had 
become dark to the revealing light of heaven. 
And so the door stayed fast, holding him prisoner 
in the cave, where to his fate, undeserving of pity, 
we leave him. 

Toward noon the robbers returned, and saw, 
standing about the rock, the ten mules laden 
with crates. At this they were greatly surprised, 
and began to search with suspicion amongst 
the surrounding crannies and undergrowth. 
Finding no one there, they drew their swords 
and advanced cautiously toward the cave, where, 
upon the captain's pronouncement of the magic 
word, the door immediately fell open. Cassim, 
who from within had heard the trampling of 
horses, had now no doubt that the robbers were 
arrived and that his hour was come. Resolved 
however to make one last effort at escape, he 
stood ready by the door ; and no sooner had the 
opening word been uttered than he sprang forth 
with such violence that he threw the captain to 
the ground. But his attempt was vain ; before 
he could break through he was mercilessly hacked 
down by the swords of the robber band. 

With their fears thus verified, the robbers 
anxiously entered the cave to view the traces of 
its late visitant. There they saw piled by the door 
the treasure which Cassim had sought to carry 



FORTY THIEVES 

away ; but while restoring this to its place they 
failed altogether to detect the earlier loss which 
Ali Baba had caused them. Reckoning, how- 
ever, that as one had discovered the secret of 
entry others also might know of it, they deter- 
mined to leave an example for any who might 
venture thither on a similar errand ; and having 
quartered the body of Cassim they disposed it 
at the entrance in a manner most calculated to 
strike horror into the heart of the beholder. 
Then, closing the door of the cave, they rode 
away in the search of fresh exploits and plunder. 

Meanwhile Cassim' s wife had grown very un- 
easy at her husband's prolonged absence ; and 
at nightfall, unable to endure further suspense, 
she ran to Ali Baba, and telling him of his brother's 
secret expedition, entreated him to go out instantly 
in search of him. 

Ali Baba had too kind a heart to refuse or 
delay comfort to her affliction. Taking with him 
his three asses he set out immediately for the 
forest, and as the road was familiar to him he 
had soon found his way to the door of the cave. 
When he saw there the traces of blood he became 
filled with misgiving, but no sooner had he entered 
than his worst fears were realized. Nevertheless 
brotherly piety gave him courage. Gathering 
together the severed remains and wrapping them 



ALI BABA AND THE 

about with all possible decency, he laid them 
upon one of the asses ; then bethinking him that 
he deserved some payment for his pains, he 
loaded the two remaining asses with sacks of 
gold, and covering them with wood as on the 
first occasion, made his way back to the town 
while it was yet early. Leaving his wife to 
dispose of the treasure borne by the two asses, he 
led the third to his sister-in-law's house, and 
knocking quietly so that none of the neighbours 
might hear, was presently admitted by Morgiana, 
a female slave whose intelligence and discretion 
had long been known to him. ' Morgiana,' said 
he, ' there's trouble on the back of that ass. 
Can you keep a secret ? ' And Morgiana's nod 
satisfied him better than any oath. 'Well,' 
said he, ' your master's body lies there wait- 
ing to be pieced, and our business now is to bury 
him honourably as though he had died a natural 
death. Go and tell your mistress that I want to 
speak to her.' 

Morgiana went in to her mistress, and return- 
ing presently bade Ali Baba enter. Then 
leaving him to break to his sister-in-law the 
news and the sad circumstances of his brother's 
death, she, with her plan already formed, 
hastened forth and knocked at the door of the 
nearest apothecary. As soon as he opened to 



FORTY THIEVES 

her she required of him in trembling agitation 
certain pillules efficacious against grave dis- 
orders, declaring in answer to his questions that 
her master had been taken suddenly ill. With 
these she returned home, and her plan of con- 
cealment having been explained and agreed upon, 
much to the satisfaction of Ali Baba, she went 
forth the next morning to the same apothecary, 
and with tears in her eyes besought him to 
supply her in haste with a certain drug that is 
given to sick people only in the last extremity. 
Meanwhile the rumour of Cassim's sickness had 
got abroad ; Ali Baba and his wife had been seen 
coming and going, while Morgiana by her cease- 
less activity had made the two days' pretended 
illness seem like a fortnight : so when a sound 
of wailing arose within the house ah 1 the neigh- 
bours concluded without further question that 
Cassim had died a natural and honourable 
death. 

But Morgiana had now a still more difficult 
task to perform, it being necessary for the ob- 
sequies that the body should be made in some 
way presentable. So at a very early hour the next 
morning she went to the shop of a certain merry 
old cobbler, Baba Mustapha by name, who lived on 
the other side of the town. Showing him a piece 
of gold she inquired whether he were ready to 



ALI BABA AND THE 

earn it by exercising his craft in implicit obedience 
to her instructions. And when Baba Mustapha 
sought to know the terms, ' First/ said she, ' you 
must come with your eyes bandaged ; secondly, 
you must sew what I put before you without 
asking questions ; and thirdly, when you return 
you must tell nobody.' 

Mustapha, who had a lively curiosity into 
other folk's affairs, boggled for a time at the 
bandaging, and doubted much of his ability to 
refrain from question ; but having on these con- 
siderations secured the doubling of his fee, he 
promised secrecy readily enough, and taking his 
cobbler's tackle in hand submitted himself to 
Morgiana's guidance and set forth. This way 
and that she led him blindfold, till she had 
brought him to the house of her deceased master. 
Then uncovering his eyes in the presence of the 
dismembered corpse, she bade him get out thread 
and wax and join the pieces together. 

Baba Mustapha plied his task according to the 
compact, asking no question. When he had 
done, Morgiana again bandaged his eyes and led 
him home, and giving him a third piece of gold 
the more to satisfy him, she bade him good-day 
and departed. 

So in seemliness and without scandal of any 
kind were the obsequies of the murdered 



FORTY THIEVES 

Cassim performed. And when all was ended, 
seeing that his widow was desolate and his house 
in need of a protector, Ali Baba with brotherly 
piety took both the one and the other into his 
care, marrying his sister-in-law according to 
Moslem rule, and removing with all his goods and 
newly acquired treasure to the house which had 
been his brother's. And having also acquired 
the shop where Cassim had done business, he 
put into it his own son, who had already served 
an apprenticeship to the trade. So, with his 
fortune well established, let us now leave Ali 
Baba, and return to the robbers' cave. 

Thither, at the appointed time, came the forty 
robbers, bearing in hand fresh booty ; and great 
was their consternation to discover that not only 
had the body of Cassim been removed, but a 
good many sacks of gold as well. It was no 
wonder that this should trouble them, for so 
long as any one could command secret access, the 
cave was useless as a depository for their wealth. 
The question was, What could they do to put an 
end to their present insecurity ? After long debate 
it was agreed that one of their number should go 
into the town disguised as a traveller, and there, 
mixing with the common people, learn from their 
report whether there had been recently any case 
in their midst of sudden prosperity or sudden 



ALI BABA AND THE 

death. If such a thing could be discovered, then 
they made sure of tracking the evil to its source 
and imposing a remedy. 

Although the penalty for failure was death, one 
of the robbers at once boldly offered himself for 
the venture, and having transformed himself by 
disguise and received the wise counsels and com- 
mendations of his fellows, he set out for the town. 

Arriving at dawn he began to walk up and down 
the streets and watch the early stirring of the in- 
habitants. So, before long, he drew up at the 
door of Baba Mustapha, who, though old, was 
already seated at work upon his cobbler's bench. 
The robber accosted him. ' I wonder/ said he, 
' to see a man of your age at work so early. Does 
not so dull a light strain your eyes ? ' ' Not so 
much as you might think/ answered Baba Mus- 
tapha. ' Why, it was but the other day that at this 
same hour I saw well enough to stitch up a dead 
body in a place where it was certainly no lighter.' 
' Stitch up a dead body ! ' cried the robber, 
in pretended amazement, concealing his joy at 
this sudden intelligence. ' Surely you mean in its 
winding sheet, for how else can a dead body be 
stitched ? ' ' No, no/ said Mustapha ; ' what I 
say I mean ; but as it is a secret, I can tell you 
no more/ The robber drew out a piece of gold. 
' Come/ said he, ' tell me nothing you do not 



FORTY THIEVES 

care to ; only show me the house where lay the 
body that you stitched.' Baba Mustapha eyed 
the gold longingly. ' Would that I could,' he 
replied ; ' but alas ! I went to it blindfold.' 
1 Well,' said the robber, ' I have heard that a 
blind man remembers his road ; perhaps, though 
seeing you might lose it, blindfold you might 
find it again.' Tempted by the offer of a second 
piece of gold, Baba Mustapha was soon per- 
suaded to make the attempt. ' It was here that 
I started,' said he, showing the spot, ' and I 
turned as you see me now.' The robber then 
put a bandage over his eyes, and walked beside 
him through the streets, partly guiding and partly 
being led, till of his own accord Baba Mustapha 
stopped. ' It was here,' said he. : The door 
by which I went in should now lie to the right. 
And he had in fact come exactly opposite to the 
house which had once been Cassim's, where Ali 
Baba now dwelt. 

The robber, having marked the door with a 
piece of chalk which he had provided for the 
purpose, removed the bandage from Mustapha' s 
eyes, and leaving him to his own devices returned 
with all possible speed to the cave where his 
comrades were awaiting him. 

Soon after the robber and cobbler had parted, 
Morgiana happened to go out upon an errand, 

2 



ALI BABA AND THE 

and as she returned she noticed the mark upon 
the door. ' This,' she thought, ' is not as it 
should be ; either some trick is intended, or there 
is evil brewing for my master's house.' Taking 
a piece of chalk she put a similar mark upon the 
five or six doors lying to right and left ; and 
having done this she went home with her mind 
satisfied, saying nothing. 

In the meantime the robbers had learned from 
their companion the success of his venture. 
Greatly elated at the thought of the vengeance 
so soon to be theirs, they formed a plan for 
entering the city in a manner that should arouse 
no suspicion among the inhabitants. Passing in 
by twos and threes, and by different routes, they 
came together to the market-place at an appointed 
time, while the captain and the robber who had 
acted as spy made their way alone to the street 
in which the marked door was to be found. 
Presently, just as they had expected, they per- 
ceived a door with the mark on it. ' That is it ! ' 
said the robber ; but as they continued walking 
so as to avoid suspicion, they came upon another 
and another, till, before they were done, they had 
passed six in succession. So alike were the marks 
that the spy, though he swore he had made but 
one, could not tell which it was. Seeing that the 
design had failed, the captain returned to the 



FORTY THIEVES 

market-place, and having passed the word for 
his troop to go back in the same way as they 
had come, he himself set the example of retreat. 

When they were all reassembled in the forest, 
the captain explained how the matter had fallen, 
and the spy, acquiescing in his own condemna- 
tion, kneeled down and received the stroke of the 
executioner. 

But as it was still necessary for the safety of 
all that so great a trespass and theft should not 
pass unavenged, another of the band, undeterred 
by the fate of his comrade, volunteered upon the 
same conditions to prosecute the quest wherein 
the other had failed. Coming by the same 
means to the house of Ali Baba, he set upon the 
door, at a spot not likely to be noticed, a mark in 
red chalk to distinguish it clearly from those 
which were already marked in white. But even 
this precaution failed of its end. Morgiana, 
whose eye nothing could escape, noticed the red 
mark at the first time of passing, and dealt with 
it just as she had done with the previous one. 
So when the robbers came, hoping this time to 
light upon the door without fail, they found not 
one but six all similarly marked with red. 

When the second spy had received the due 
reward of his blunder, the captain considered 
how by trusting to others he had come to lose 



ALI BABA AND THE 

two of his bravest followers, so the third attempt 
he determined to conduct in person. Having 
found his way to Ali Baba's door, as the two 
others had done by the aid of Baba Mustapha, 
he did not set any mark upon it, but examined it 
so carefully that he could not in future mistake 
it. He then returned to the forest and com- 
municated to his band the plan which he had 
formed. This was to go into the town in the 
disguise of an oil-merchant, bearing with him 
upon nineteen mules thirty-eight large leather 
jars, one of which, as a sample, was to be full 
of oil, but all the others empty. In these he 
purposed to conceal the thirty-seven robbers to 
which his band was now reduced, and so to 
convey his full force to the scene of action in 
such a manner as to arouse no suspicion till the 
signal for vengeance should be given. 

Within a couple of days he had secured all 
the mules and jars that were requisite, and 
having disposed of his troop according to the 
pre-arranged plan, he drove his train of well- 
laden mules to the gates of the city, through 
which he passed just before sunset. Proceeding 
thence to Ali Baba's house, and arriving as it 
fell dark, he was about to knock and crave a 
lodging for the night, when he perceived Ali 
Baba at the door enjoying the fresh air after 



FORTY THIEVES 

supper. Addressing him in tones of respect, 
' Sir,' said he, ' I have brought my oil a great 
distance to sell to-morrow in the market ; and 
at this late hour, being a stranger, I know not 
where to seek for a shelter. If it is not troubling 
you too much, allow me to stable my beasts 
here for the night/ 

The captain's voice was now so changed from 
its accustomed tone of command, that Ali Baba, 
though he had heard it before, did not recognize 
it. Not only did he grant the stranger's request 
for bare accommodation, but as soon as the 
unlading and stabling of the mules had been 
accomplished, he invited him to stay no longer 
in the outer court but enter the house as his 
guest. The captain, whose plans this proposal 
somewhat disarranged, endeavoured to excuse 
himself from a pretended reluctance to give 
trouble ; but since Ali Baba would take no 
refusal he was forced at last to yield, and to 
submit with apparent complaisance to an en- 
tertainment which the hospitality of his host 
extended to a late hour. 

When they were about to retire for the night, 
Ali Baba went into the kitchen to speak to 
Morgiana ; and the captain of the robbers, on 
the pretext of going to look after his mules, 
slipped out into the yard where the oil jars 



ALI BABA AND THE 

were standing in line. Passing from jar to jar 
he whispered into each, ' When you hear a 
handful of pebbles fall from the window of the 
chamber where I am lodged, then cut your way 
out of the jar and make ready, for the time 
will have come.' He then returned to the house, 
where Morgiana came with a light and conducted 
him to his chamber. 

Now Ali Baba, before going to bed, had said 
to Morgiana, ' To-morrow at dawn I am going 
to the baths ; let my bathing-linen be put ready, 
and see that the cook has some good broth 
prepared for me against my return.' Having 
therefore led the guest up to his chamber, 
Morgiana returned to the kitchen and ordered 
Abdallah the cook to put on the pot for the 
broth. Suddenly while she was skimming it, 
the lamp went out, and, on searching, she found 
there was no more oil in the house. At so late 
an hour no shop would be open, yet somehow 
the broth had to be made, and that could not 
be done without a light. ' As for that,' said 
Abdallah, seeing her perplexity, ' why trouble 
yourself ? There is plenty of oil out in the 
yard.' ' Why, to be sure ! ' said Morgiana, 
and sending Abdallah to bed so that he might 
be up in time to wake his master on the morrow, 
she took the oil-can herself and went out into 



FORTY THIEVES 

the court. As she approached the jar which 
stood nearest, she heard a voice within say, * Is 
it time ? ' 

To one of Morgiana's intelligence an oil-jar 
that spoke was an object of even more sus- 
picion than a chalk-mark on a door, and in an 
instant she apprehended what danger for her 
master and his family might lie concealed around 
her. Understanding well enough that an oil- jar 
which asked a question required an answer, she 
replied quick as thought and without the least 
sign of perturbation, ' Not yet, but presently.' 
And thus she passed from jar to jar, thirty- 
seven in all, giving the same answer, till she 
came to the one which contained the oil. 

The situation was now clear to her. Aware of 
the source from which her master had acquired 
his wealth, she guessed at once that, in extending 
shelter to the oil-merchant, Ali Baba had in fact 
admitted to his house the robber captain and his 
band. On the instant her resolution was formed. 
Having filled the oil-can she returned to the 
kitchen ; there she lighted the lamp, and then, 
taking a large kettle, went back once more to 
the jar which contained the oil. Filling the 
kettle she carried it back to the kitchen, and 
putting under it a great fire of wood had soon 
brought it to the boil. Then taking it in hand 



ALI BABA AND THE 

once more, she went out into the yard and 
poured into each jar in turn a sufficient quantity 
of the boiling oil to scald its occupant to death. 

She then returned to the kitchen, and having 
made Ali Baba's broth, put out the fire, blew out 
the lamp, and sat down by the window to watch. 

Before long the captain of the robbers awoke 
from the short sleep which he had allowed him- 
self, and finding that all was silent in the house, 
he rose softly and opened the window. Below 
stood the oil-jars ; gently into their midst he 
threw the handful of pebbles agreed on as a 
signal ; but from the oil-jars came no answer. 
He threw a second and a third time ; yet though 
he could hear the pebbles falling among the jars, 
there followed only the silence of the dead. 
Wondering whether his band had fled leaving 
him in the lurch, or whether they were all asleep, 
he grew uneasy, and descending in haste, made 
his way into the court. As he approached the 
first jar a smell of burning and hot oil assailed 
his nostrils, and looking within he beheld in 
rigid contortion the dead body of his comrade. 
In every jar the same sight presented itself till 
he came to the one which had contained the oil. 
There, in what was missing, the means and 
manner of his companions' death were made 
clear to him. Aghast at the discovery and 



<ar\ 0V- i Wff 




FORTY THIEVES 

awake to the danger that now threatened him, 
he did not delay an instant, but forcing the 
garden-gate, and thence climbing from wall to 
wall, he made his escape out of the city. 

When Morgiana, who had remained all this 
time on the watch, was assured of his final 
departure, she put her master's bath-linen ready 
and went to bed well satisfied with her day's 
work. 

The next morning Ali Baba, awakened by his 
slave, went to the baths before daybreak. On 
his return he was greatly surprised to find that 
the merchant was gone, leaving his mules and 
oil-jars behind him. He inquired of Morgiana 
the reason. You will find the reason/ said 
she, ' if you look into the first jar you come to/ 
Ali Baba did so, and, seeing a man, started back 
with a cry. ' Do not be afraid/ said Morgiana, 
' he is dead and harmless ; and so are all the 
others whom you will find if you look further/ 

As Ali Baba went from one jar to another, 
finding always the same sight of horror within, 
his knees trembled under him ; and when he 
came at last to the one empty oil-jar, he stood 
for a time motionless, turning upon Morgiana 
eyes of wonder and inquiry. ' And what/ he 
said then, ' has become of the merchant ? ' 
' To tell you that/ said Morgiana, ' will be to 



ALI BABA AND THE 

tell you the whole story ; you will be better able 
to hear it if you have your broth first.' 

But the curiosity of Ali Baba was far too 
great : he would not be kept waiting. So with- 
out further delay she gave him the whole 
history, so far as she knew it, from beginning 
to end ; and by her intelligent putting of one 
thing against another, she left him at last in no 
possible doubt as to the source and nature of 
the conspiracy which her quick wits had so 
happily defeated. ' And now, dear master, ' she 
said in conclusion, ' continue to be on your 
guard, for though all these are dead, one remains 
alive ; and he, if I mistake not, is the captain 
of the band, and for that reason the more formid- 
able and the more likely to cherish the hope 
of vengeance.' 

When Morgiana had done speaking Ali Baba 
clearly perceived that he owed to her not merely 
the protection of his property but life itself. 
His heart was full of gratitude. ' Do not 
doubt,' he said, ' that before I die I will reward 
you as you deserve ; and as an immediate proof 
from this moment I give you your liberty.' 

This token of his approval filled Morgiana's 
heart with delight, but she had no intention of 
leaving so kind a master, even had she been 
sure that all danger was now over. The 



FORTY THIEVES 

immediate question which next presented itself 
was how to dispose of the bodies. Luckily at 
the far end of the garden stood a thick grove of 
trees, and under these Ali Baba was able to dig 
a large trench without attracting the notice of 
his neighbours. Here the remains of the thirty- 
seven robbers were laid side by side, the trench 
was filled again, and the ground made level. 
As for the mules, since Ali Baba had no use for 
them, he sent them, one or two at a time, to the 
market to be sold. 

Meanwhile the robber captain had fled back to 
the forest. Entering the cave he was overcome 
by its gloom and loneliness. ' Alas I ' he cried, 
' my comrades, partners in my adventures, 
sharers of my fortune, how shall I endure to 
live without you ? Why did I lead you to a 
fate where valour was of no avail, and where 
death turned you into objects of ridicule ? 
Surely had you died sword in hand my sorrow 
had been less bitterj And now what remains for 
me but to take vengeance for your death and to 
prove, by achieving it without aid, that I was 
worthy to be the captain of such a band ! ' 

Thus resolved, at an early hour the next day, 
he assumed a disguise suitable to his purpose, 
and going to the town took lodging in a khan. 
Entering into conversation with his host he 



ALI BABA AND THE 

inquired whether anything of interest had 
happened recently in the town ; but the other, 
though full of gossip, had nothing to tell him 
concerning the matter in which he was most 
interested, for Ali Baba, having to conceal from 
all the source of his wealth, had also to be silent 
as to the dangers in which it involved him. 

The captain then inquired where there was a 
shop for hire ; and hearing of one that suited him, 
he came to terms with the owner, and before 
long had furnished it with all kinds of rich stuffs 
and carpets and jewellery which he brought by 
degrees with great secrecy from the cave. 

Now this shop happened to be opposite to that 
which had belonged to Cassim and was now 
occupied by the son of Ali Baba ; so before long 
the son and the new-comer, who had assumed 
the name of Cogia Houssain, became acquainted ; 
and as the youth had good looks, kind manners, 
and a sociable disposition, it was not long before 
the acquaintance became intimate. 

Cogia Houssain did all he could to seal the 
pretended friendship, the more so as it had not 
taken him long to discover how the young man 
and Ali Baba were related ; so, plying him 
constantly with small presents and acts of 
hospitality, he forced on him the obligation of 
making some return. 



FORTY THIEVES 

All Baba's son, however, had not at his lodging 
sufficient accommodation for entertainment ; he 
therefore told his father of the difficulty in which 
Cogia Houssain's favours had placed him, and 
Ali Baba with great willingness at once offered 
to arrange matters. ' My son/ said he, ' to- 
morrow being a holiday, all shops will be closed ; 
then do you after dinner invite Cogia Houssain to 
walk with you ; and as you return bring him this 
way and beg him to come in. That will be better 
than a formal invitation, and Morgiana shall 
have a supper prepared for you.' 

This proposal was exactly what Ali Baba's son 
could have wished, so on the morrow he brought 
Cogia Houssain to the door as if by accident, and 
stopping, invited him to enter. 

Cogia Houssain, who saw his object thus 
suddenly attained, began by showing pretended 
reluctance, but Ali Baba himself coming to the 
door, pressed him in the most kindly manner to 
enter, and before long had conducted him to the 
table, where food stood prepared. 

But there an unlooked-for difficulty arose. 
Wicked though he might be the robber captain 
was not so impious as to eat the salt of the man 
he intended to kill. He therefore began with 
many apologies to excuse himself ; and when 
Ali Baba sought to know the reason, ' Sir/ said 



ALI BABA AND THE 

he, ' I am sure that if you knew the cause of my 
resolution you would approve of it. Suffice it to 
say that I have made it a rule to eat of no dish 
that has salt in it. How then can I sit down at 
your table if I must reject everything that is set 
before me ? ' 

' If that is your scruple/ said Ali Baba, ' it 
shall soon be satisfied/ and he sent orders to the 
kitchen that no salt was to be put into any of the 
dishes presently to be served to the newly arrived 
guest. ' Thus/ said he to Cogia Houssain, * I 
shall still have the honour, to which I have looked 
forward, of returning to you under my own roof 
the hospitality you have shown to my son.' 

Morgiana, who was just about to serve supper, 
received the order with some discontent. ' Who/ 
she said, ' is this difficult person that refuses to 
eat salt ? He must be a curiosity worth looking 
at/ So when the saltless courses were ready to 
be set upon the table, she herself helped to carry 
in the dishes. No sooner had she set eyes on 
Cogia Houssain than she recognized him in spite 
of his disguise ; and observing his movements 
with great attention she saw that he had a dagger 
concealed beneath his robe. ' Ah ! ' she said to 
herself, ' here is reason enough ! For who will 
eat salt with the man he means to murder ? 
But he shall not murder my master if I can 
prevent it/ 



FORTY THIEVES 

Now Morgiana knew that the most favourable 
opportunity for the robber captain to carry out his 
design would be after the courses had been with- 
drawn, and when AH Baba and his son and guest 
were alone together over their wine, which indeed 
was the very project that Cogia Houssain had 
formed. Going forth, therefore, in haste, she 
dressed herself as a dancer, assuming the head- 
dress and mask suitable for the character. Then 
she fastened a silver girdle about her waist, and 
hung upon it a dagger of the same material. 
Thus equipped, she said to Abdallah the cook, 
' Take your tabor and let us go in and give an 
entertainment in honour of our master's guest.' 

So Abdallah took his tabor, and played Mor- 
giana into the hall. As soon as she had entered 
she made a low curtsey, and stood awaiting 
orders. Then Ali Baba, seeing that she wished 
to perform in his guest's honour, said kindly, 
' Come in, Morgiana, and show Cogia Houssain 
what you can do.' 

Immediately Abdallah began to beat upon his 
tabor and sing an air for Morgiana to dance to ; 
and she, advancing with much grace and propriety 
of deportment, began to move through several 
figures, performing them with the ease and 
facility which none but the most highly practised 
can attain to. Then, for the last figure of all, she 



ALI BABA AND THE 

drew out the dagger and, holding it in her hand, 
danced a dance which excelled all that had pre- 
ceded it in the surprise and change and quickness 
and dexterity of its movements. Now she pre- 
sented the dagger at her own breast, now at one 
of the onlookers ; but always in the act of striking 
she drew back. At length, as though out of 
breath, she snatched his instrument from Ab- 
dallah with her left hand, and, still holding the 
dagger in her right, advanced the hollow of the 
tabor toward her master, as is the custom of 
dancers when claiming their fee. Ali Baba threw 
in a piece of gold ; his son did likewise. Then 
advancing it in the same manner toward Cogia 
Houssain, who was feeling for his purse, she 
struck under it, and before he knew had plunged 
her dagger deep into his heart. 

Ali Baba and his son, seeing their guest fall dead, 
cried out in horror at the deed. ' Wretch ! ' 
exclaimed Ali Baba, ' what ruin and shame hast 
thou brought on us ? ' ' Nay,' answered Mor- 
giana, ' it is not your ruin but your life that I 
have thus secured ; look and convince yourself 
what man was this which refused to eat salt 
with you ! ' So saying, she tore off the dead 
robber's disguise, showing the dagger concealed 
below, and the face ^which her master now for 
the first time recognized. 



FORTY THIEVES 

AH Baba's gratitude to Morgiana for thus pre- 
serving his life a second time, knew no bounds. 
He took her in his arms and embraced her as a 
daughter. ' Now,' said he, ' the time is come 
when I must fulfil my debt ; and how better can 
I do it than by marrying you to my son ? 
This proposition, far from proving unwelcome to 
the young man, did but confirm an inclination 
already formed. A few days later the nuptials 
were celebrated with great joy and solemnity, and 
the union thus auspiciously commenced was 
productive of as much happiness as lies within 
the power of mortals to secure. 

As for the robbers' cave, it remained the secret 
possession of Ali Baba and his posterity ; and 
using their good fortune with equity and moder- 
ation, they rose to high office in the city and were 
held in great honour by all who knew them. 



THE STORY OF THE 
WICKED HALF-BROTHERS 



THE STORY OF THE 
WICKED HALF-BROTHERS 

IN the city of Harran there once lived a King who 
had every happiness which life and fortune could 
bestow save that he lacked an heir. Although, 
according to royal custom, he had in his house- 
hold fifty wives, fair to look upon and affectionate 
in disposition, and though he continually invoked 
on these unions the blessing of Heaven, still he 
remained childless ; for which cause all his joy 
was turned to affliction, and his wealth and 
power and magnificence became as of no account. 

Now one night as he slept there appeared 
before him an old man of venerable appearance 
who, addressing him in mild accents, spoke thus ; 
1 The prayer of the faithful among fifty has been 
heard. Arise, therefore, and go into the gardens 
of your palace and cause the gardener to bring 
you a pomegranate fully ripe. Eat as many of 
the seeds as you desire children, and your wish 
shall be fulfilled. ' 

Immediately upon awaking the King remem- 
bered the dream, and going down into the gardens 



THE STORY OF THE 

of the palace he took fifty pomegranate seeds, 
and counting them one by one ate them all. 
So in due course according to the promise of his 
dream, each of his wives gave birth to a son 
all about the same time. To this, however, there 
was an exception, for one of the fifty whose 
name was Pirouze, the fairest and the most 
honourably born, she alone, as time went on, 
showed no sign of that which was expected of 
her. Then was the King's anger kindled against 
her because in her alone the promise of his dream 
was not fulfilled ; and deeming such a one hate- 
ful in the eyes of Heaven he was minded to put 
her to death. His vizier, however, dissuaded 
him. ' Time alone can show/ said he, ' whether 
her demerits are so great as you now suppose. 
Let her go back to her own people, and remain in 
banishment until the will of Heaven shall declare 
itself, and if within due time she give birth to a 
son then can she return to you with all honour.' 
So the King did as his vizier advised, and sent 
Pirouze back to her own country to the court of 
the Prince of Samaria ; and there before long she 
who had seemed barren had the joy of becoming a 
mother and gave birth to a son whom she named 
Codadad, that is to say, ' the Gift of God/ 
Nevertheless, because the King of Harran had 
put upon her so public a disgrace, the Prince of 



WICKED HALF-BROTHERS 

Samaria would send no word to him of the 
event ; so the young Prince was brought up at his 
uncle's court, and there he learned to ride and 
to shoot and to perform such warlike feats as 
become a prince, and in all that country he had 
no equal for accomplishment or courage. 

Now one day, when Codadad had reached the 
age of eighteen, word came to him that his father 
the King of Harran was engaged in war and 
surrounded by enemies ; so the Prince said to his 
mother, ' Now is it time that I should go and 
prove myself worthy of my birth and the equal of 
my brethren ; for here in Samaria all is peace 
and indolence, but in Harran are hardship and 
dangers, and great deeds waiting to be done.' 
And his mother said to him, ' O my son, since it 
seems good to thee, go ; but how wilt thou 
declare thyself to thy father, or cause him to 
believe thy word, seeing that he is ignorant of 
thy birth ? ' Codadad answered, ' I will so 
declare myself by my deeds that before my father 
knows the truth he shall wish that it were true.' 

So he departed and came in princely arms to 
the city of Harran, and there offered his service 
to the King against all his enemies. Now, no 
sooner had the King looked upon the youth than 
his heart was drawn toward him because of his 
beauty and the secret ties of blood, but when he 



THE STORY OF THE 

asked from what country he came, Codadad 
answered, ' I am the son of an emir of^Cairo, and 
wherever there is war I go to win fame, nor do 
I care in what cause I fight so long as I be 
proved worthy.' 

The Prince was not slow in making his valour 
known ; before long he had risen to the command 
of the whole army, not only over the heads of his 
brethren but also of the more experienced officers. 
And thereafter, when peace was re-established, 
the King, finding Codadad as prudent as he 
was valiant, appointed him governor to the young 
Princes. 

Now this act, though justified by merit, could 
not fail to increase the hatred and jealousy which 
Codadad's brethren had long felt towards him. 
' What ? ' they cried, ' shall this stranger not 
only steal from us the first place in the King's 
favour, but must we also be in obedience to his 
ruling and judgment ? Surely if we do so we 
are no sons of a King.' 

So they conspired together how best to be rid of 
him. One said, ' Let us fall upon him with our 
swords.' ' No, no/ said another, ' for so doing 
we shall but bring punishment upon ourselves. 
But let us so arrange matters as to draw on him 
the weight of the King's anger ; thus shall our 
vengeance be made both safe and complete.' 



WICKED HALF-BROTHERS 

To this the other Princes agreed ; so forming a 
design which seemed favourable to their end they 
approached Codadad, and besought his permission 
to go forth together on a hunting expedition, 
promising to return the same day. Codadad, 
deeming the request reasonable, immediately 
granted it : the brothers departed, but they did 
not return. 

On the third day the King made inquiry as to 
the reason of their absence. Codadad replied 
that they were gone on a hunting expedition but 
had promised to return much sooner. Another 
day passed and the King grew anxious ; yet 
another, and he became furious ; and all his 
wrath was directed against Codadad. ' O traitor,' 
he cried, ' why hast thou neglected thy trust and 
allowed my sons to go anywhere unaccompanied 
by thee ? Now go instantly and search for them, 
and if thou find them not be assured that on thy 
head shall fall the penalty.' 

At these words the Prince was filled with 
sudden foreboding, for he knew that the brothers 
had no love for him, and well could he see now 
the danger into which he had fallen. All he 
could do, however, was to obey ; so furnishing 
himself with arms and a horse good for travelling, 
he set out in search of his brethren. 

After some days employed in a fruitless quest 



THE STORY OF THE 

he came to a desolate tract in the midst of which 
stood a castle of black marble. As he approached 
he beheld at an upper window a damsel of 
marvellous beauty, with torn garments, dis- 
hevelled hair, and a countenance expressive of 
the most lively affliction, who immediately that 
she set eyes on him wrung her hands and waived 
him away crying, ' Oh, fly, fly from this place of 
death and the monster which inhabits it ! For 
here lives a black giant which feeds on human 
flesh, seizing all he can find. Even now in his 
dungeons you may hear the cries of those whom 
for his next meal he will devour.' 

' Madam,' replied the Prince, ' for my safety 
you need have no care. Only be good enough to 
inform me who you are and how you came to be 
in your present plight.' ' I come from Cairo,' 
she replied, ' where my birth gives me rank. 
And as I was travelling from thence on my road 
to Bagdad this monstrous negro suddenly fell 
upon us, and having slain my escort brought me 
hither a captive, to endure, if Heaven refuses me 
succour, things far worse than death. But 
though I know my own peril I will not see 
others perish in a vain attempt to rescue me, 
therefore once more I entreat you to fly ere it be 
too late ? ' 

But even as she spoke, the negro, a horrible 



WICKED HALF-BROTHERS 

and gigantic monster of loathsome appearance, 
came in sight moving rapidly toward the palace. 
No sooner had he caught sight of the Prince than 
he rushed upon him with growls of fury, and 
drawing his scimitar aimed at him a blow which, 
had it found him, must there and then have 
ended the fight. The Prince, however, swerved 
nimbly under the stroke, and reaching his farthest, 
wounded the giant in the knee ; then wheeling 
his charger about before the negro could turn on 
his maimed limb he attacked him from the rear, 
and with one fortunate blow brought him to 
earth. Instantly, before the giant could gather 
up his huge length and regain his vantage, 
Codadad spurred forward and with a single 
sweep of his sword smote off his head. 

Meanwhile, all breathless above, the lady had 
leaned watching the contest. Now, seeing that 
victory was secured, she gave free vent to her 
joy and gratitude. ' O prince of men ! ' she cried, 
' now is revealed to me the high rank to which 
thou wast born. Finish, then, thy work ; take 
from the girdle of yonder wretch the keys of the 
castle and come quickly to the release of me and 
my fellow prisoners.' 

The Prince did according to her directions ; 
as he opened the gates and entered the forecourt 
the lady advanced to meet him, ready, had he per- 



THE STORY OF THE 

mitted it, to throw herself in gratitude at his 
feet. And now, as he beheld near at hand the 
beauty which had charmed him from a distance, 
Codadad realized how great had been his fortune, 
and with his whole heart rejoiced at the deliver- 
ance of one in whose nature so much virtue 
and grace seemed blended. 

But while he was thus lost in the contemplation 
of her loveliness there arose from the basement 
of the castle a dreadful sound of crying and 
lamentation. ' What is that ? ' inquired the 
Prince. ' It is the cry of the prisoners,' replied 
the lady, ' to whom, I doubt not, the opening of 
the gates has betokened the monster's return. 
Come, therefore, quickly and relieve them of 
their misery.' And so saying she pointed to the 
door which led to the place of confinement. 

Thither, accompanied by the lady, went 
Codadad with all speed. Descending by a dark 
stair he came upon a vast cavern dimly lighted, 
around the walls of which a hundred prisoners 
lay chained. Instantly he set to work to loose 
their bonds, informing them at the same time of 
the death of their captor and of their freedom 
from all further danger. At these unexpected 
tidings the captives raised a cry of joy and 
thanksgiving ; but great as was their surprise at 
such unlooked-for deliverance, greater still was 



WICKED HALF-BROTHERS 

that of the Prince when, on bringing them to the 
light, he discovered that forty-nine of the hundred 
whom he had released were his own brethren. 

The Princes received the cordial embraces of 
their deliverer with little embarrassment, for the 
disaster into which they had fallen had caused 
them almost entirely to forget their original 
intent. Satisfied with expressing in proper terms 
their obligation and gratitude toward Codadad, 
they now joined eagerly in his survey of the 
castle ; there upon examination they found an 
extraordinary variety and wealth of booty, con- 
sisting for the most part of merchandise which the 
negro had pillaged from passing caravans, some 
of it actually belonging to those whom Codadad 
had so recently rescued. 

The Prince accordingly ordered the merchants 
each to take what he recognized as his own ; 
and this being done he divided the rest equally 
between them. The question then arose how 
they should remove their plunder from a place 
so desolately situated, where it would seem im- 
possible to procure means of conveyance ; but 
on a further search they found not only the 
camels of the merchants, but also the horses on 
which the Princes of Harran had ridden ; and as, 
at their approach, the black slaves who were in 
charge of the stables fell into headlong flight, 



THE WICKED HALF-BROTHERS 

Codadad and his companions found themselves 
left in undisputed possession. The merchants 
therefore loaded their camels, and with renewed 
protestations of gratitude departed on the several 
roads by which their avocations called them. 

When they were gone Codadad' s next care was 
to inquire of the lady in what direction she 
wished to travel, promising that he and the 
Princes would conduct her in safety to any place 
she might name. The lady replied, thanking 
him for his generous offer. ' But wherever I 
go,' said she, ' it cannot be to my own country, 
for not only is it too far distant, but cruel mis- 
fortune has separated me from it for ever. And 
since you have put me under so great an obli- 
gation, let me now confess the truth which before 
I thought it prudent to conceal. My dignity of 
rank is far higher than that to which I recently 
laid claim ; in me you behold a King's daughter, 
and if it will interest you to hear the story of 
my misfortunes, I shall be happy to recount it.' 
Assured of the lively sympathy of her auditors 
she began as follows : 



THE STORY OF THE 
PRINCESS OF DERYABAR 



THE STORY OF THE 
PRINCESS OF DERYABAR 

MY father was the King of a city among the 
isles named Deryabar, and I was his only child ; 
for, in spite of his many prayers directed to that 
end, Heaven had not granted him a son. 
And for this cause, though he bestowed upon 
my education all imaginable care, the sight of 
me remained displeasing to him. In order the 
better to forget his sorrow he spent his days in 
hunting, and so he chanced on the event which 
led to all our misfortunes. For one day, as he 
was riding unattended in the forest, night over- 
took him and he knew not which way to turn. 

j 

Presently in the distance he perceived a light, 
and advancing towards it he came upon a hut 
within which a monstrous negro stood basting 
an ox that roasted before the fire. In the 
further corner of the hut lay a beautiful woman 
with hands bound, and a face betokening the 
deepest affliction, while at her feet a young child, 
between two and three years of age, stretched 
up its arms and wailed without ceasing. 

4 



THE STORY OF THE 

At this sight my father was filled with com- 
passion, but his desire to effect her rescue was 
restrained for a while by fear that a failure 
might only make matters worse. In the mean- 
time the giant, having drained a pitcher of wine, 
sat down to eat. Presently he turned himself 
about and addressed the lady. ' Charming 
Princess,' said he, ' why will you not accept the 
good things which are within your reach ? Only 
yield to me the love that I demand and you will 
find in me the gentlest and most considerate of 
lords.' To these advances, however, the lady 
replied with resolution and courage. ! Vile 
monster/ she cried, ' every time I look at you 
does but increase my hatred and loathing toward 
you. Unchangeable as the foulness of your 
appearance is the disgust with which you inspire 
me!' 

These words of violent provocation were no 
sooner uttered than the negro, beside himself 
with rage, drew his sword, and seizing the lady 
by the hair, lifted her from the ground in prepara- 
tion for the blow that would have ended all. 
Whereupon, seeing that not a moment was to be 
lost, my father drew his bow and let fly an 
arrow with so good an aim that pierced to the 
heart the giant fell dead. Immediately entering 
the hut my father raised the lady from the 



PRINCESS OF DERYABAR 

swoon into which she had fallen, and severing 
her bonds gave her the needed reassurance that 
all danger was now over. Before long he 
learned in answer to his inquiries that she had 
been wife to a chief of the Saracens, in whose 
service the slain giant had, on account of his 
great strength, occupied a position of trust. 
This, however, he had shamelessly betrayed ; for 
having conceived a violent passion for his master's 
wife, he first persuaded the chief into an expedi- 
tion which terminated in his death, and then 
returning in haste carried away by force not only 
the lady but her child also. From this degrad- 
ing bondage my father's act had now saved her ; 
but though thus relieved of immediate danger, the 
wife of the Saracen chief was both solitary and 
friendless, for not only was she too far removed 
from her own land to return to it unaided, but 
she had small hope, should she ever arrive there, 
of securing for her son his rightful inheritance. 
This being the case my father, moved with 
compassion, determined to adopt the child as 
his own ; and as the lady gratefully accepted his 
proposal, the next day as soon as it was light he 
returned to Deryabar bringing with him mother 
and son. 

Thus it came about that the son of a Saracen 
chief was brought up in my father's palace like 



THE STORY OF THE 

a Prince of the blood royal ; and so, on attaining 
to manhood, having both grace and good looks 
to recommend him, he came to forget the com- 
parative lowliness of his origin, and aspiring to 
become my father's heir, had the presumption 
to demand my hand in marriage. 

A claim so audacious merited the severest 
punishment, yet my father merely remarked that 
he had other views concerning me, and with 
so lenient a rebuke would have passed the matter 
by. His refusal, however, excited in the proud 
youth the liveliest resentment ; seeing that he could 
not obtain his ambition by fair means he imme- 
diately entered into conspiracy, and having 
treacherously slain my father, caused himself to be 
made King in his place. Fresh from this mon- 
strous crime he renewed his suit for my hand, and 
was preparing to enforce it by violence, when the 
vizier, who alone of all my father's court had 
remained faithful to his memory, found means 
to convey me from the palace to a sailing vessel 
which was leaving harbour the same night. 

Here for a time I seemed to have reached 
safety, but when we had been only three days at 
sea a violent storm arose, and the ship, driving 
helplessly before it, struck upon a rock and went 
down leaving as sole survivor the one who least 
wished to be spared. How I was saved I know 



PRINCESS OF DERYABAR 

not, nor how long I lay unfriended by the 
desolate shore upon which I had been cast ; but 
scarcely had the consciousness of life returned 
to me when I heard a multitudinous sound of 
swift galloping ; and presently, feeling myself 
lifted by men's hands, I turned and saw halting 
near me a troop of Arab horsemen, and at 
their head a youth royally arrayed and beauti- 
ful as the morning. Thus when my fortunes 
were at their lowest I beheld him whom Heaven 
had sent not only to afford me that deliver- 
ance of which I stood so much in need, but 
also to restore me to the rank due to my 
birth. For let me confess that after this young 
Prince had succoured me with the most tender 
solicitude, conducting me in all honour to his 
own palace and there lodging me under his 
mother's protection, I experienced towards him a 
feeling of duty and gratitude such as would have 
made his lightest wish my law. When therefore 
with an ardent and ever increasing devotion he 
desired me to become his bride, I could not, 
upon the completion of my recovery, refuse him 
the happiness he sought. 

But the festivities of our marriage were 
scarcely ended, when suddenly by night the city 
in which we dwelt was attacked by a band of 
travelling marauders. The attack was so un~ 



THE STORY OF THE 

expected and so well planned that the town 
was stormed and the garrison cut to pieces 
before any news of the event had reached the 
palace. Under cover of darkness we managed 
to escape, and fleeing to the sea shore took 
refuge on a small fishing boat, in which we 
immediately put out to sea, hoping to find in 
the rude winds and waves a safer shelter than 
our own walls had afforded us. 

For two days we drifted with wind and tide, 
not knowing any better direction in which to turn ; 
upon the third we perceived with relief a ship 
bearing down upon us, but as we watched its 
appoach our satisfaction was soon changed to 
apprehension and dread, for we saw clearly that 
those on board were neither fishermen nor traders, 
but pirates. With rude shouts they boarded our 
small bark, and seizing my husband and myself 
carried us captive to their own vessel. Here 
the one who was their leader advanced towards 
me and pulled aside my veil ; whereupon a great 
clamour instantly arose among the crew, each 
contending for the possession of me. The dis- 
pute upon this point grew so warm that pre- 
sently they fell to fighting ; and a bitter and 
deadly conflict was maintained till at last only a 
single pirate was left. This one, who now re- 
garded himself as my owner, proceeded to inform 



PRINCESS OF DERYABAR 

me of what was to be my fate. ' I have,' he said, 
' a friend in Cairo who has promised me a rich 
reward if I can supply him with a slave, more 
beautiful than any of those that his harem now 
contains. The distinction of earning me this 
reward shall be yours.' ' But tell me/ he went 
on, turning towards the place where my husband 
stood bound, ' who is this youth that accom- 
panies you ? Is he a lover or a brother, or only 
a servant ? ' ' Sir,' said I, ' he is my husband.' 
' In that case/ he replied, ' out of pity we must 
get rid of him, for I would not afflict him need- 
lessly with the sight of another's happiness.' 
And so saying, he took my husband, all bound 
as he was, and threw him into the sea. 

So great was my grief at the sight of this cruel 
deed, that had I not been bound myself I should 
undoubtedly have sought the same end to my 
sufferings. But for the sake of future profit the 
pirate took the most watchful care of me, not only 
so long as we were on board the ship but also when, 
a few days later, we came to port and there joined 
ourselves to a large caravan which was about to 
start on the road to Cairo. While thus travelling 
in apparent safety, we were suddenly attacked 
by the terrible negro who lately owned this 
castle. After a long and dubious conflict the 
pirate, and all who stood by him, were slain, while 



THE STORY OF THE 

I and those of the merchants who had remained 
timorously looking on were seized, and brought 
hither as prisoners destined as it seemed for a 
fate far more lingering and terrible. The rest 
of my story, brave Prince, I need not here re- 
count, since the shaping of it was so largely in 
your own hands, and since to you alone is owed 
the happiness of its conclusion. 

When the Princess of Deryabar had thus 
finished the tale of her wanderings, Codadad 
hastened to assure her how deep was his sym- 
pathy in all her misfortunes. ' But if you will 
allow yourself/ he continued, ' to be guided by 
me, your future life shall be one of safety and 
tranquillity. You have but to come as my bride, 
and the King of Harran will offer you an hon- 
ourable welcome to his court ; while, as regards 
myself, my whole life shall be devoted to securing 
for you that happiness which your grace and 
noble qualities prove that you deserve. And 
that you may not regard this proposal as too 
presumptuous, I have now to inform you, and 
also these Princes, concerning my birth and 
rank. For I, too, am a son of the King of Harran, 
born to him at the court of Samaria by his wife 
the Princess Pirouze, whom he had sent unjustly 
into banishment.' 



WICKED HALF-BROTHERS 

This declaration on the part of Codadad so 
accorded with the inclinations of the Princess 
that she at once yielded her consent, and as the 
castle was full of provisions suitable for the 
occasion, preparations were made first to solemnize 
the marriage, and then for all together to set forth 
on the return journey to Harran. As for the 
Princes, though they received Codadad's news 
with every outward protestation of joy, they were in 
fact more filled with apprehension and jealousy than 
before, for they could not but fear that his favour 
with the King would be greatly increased and be- 
come far more dangerous to their interests when 
the true facts of his birth were revealed. No 
sooner, therefore, had Codadad and the Princess 
passed to their nuptials, than his brethren entered 
into a conspiracy to slay him ; and at the first halt 
upon the homeward journey, taking advantage 
of the lack of protection which a tent affords, 
they came upon their brother by night, and stab- 
bing him in a hundred places as he lay asleep, left 
him for dead in the arms of his bride. They then 
broke up the camp and returned with all haste to 
the city of Harran, where, with a falsely invented 
tale they excused themselves to the King for 
their long absence. 

In the meantime Codadad lay so spent by loss 
of blood that there remained in him no sign of 



THE STORY OF THE 

life. The Princess, his wife, distraught with 
grief, had already given him up for dead. ' O 
Heaven,' she cried, bathing his body with her 
tears, ' why am I thus ever condemned to bring 
on others disaster and death, and why for a 
second time have I been deprived of the one I was 
about to love ? ' 

As thus she continued to cry in piteous 
lamentation, and to gaze on the senseless form 
lying before her, she thought that she perceived 
on the lips a faint motion of breath. At once 
her hope revived, and springing to her feet she 
ran instantly in the direction of the nearest 
village, hoping to find there a surgeon or one 
that had skill in the binding of wounds. Re- 
turning after a time with -the aid that she had 
summoned she found to her grief the place where 
Codadad had lain left vacant, nor was there 
any trace or indication of the fate which had 
overtaken him. 

Overwhelmed by this final catastrophe, and 
believing that some wild beast must have de- 
voured him, she suffered herself to be led away 
by the surgeon, who, in pity for one so greatly 
afflicted, placed her under the shelter of his own 
roof, and lavished upon her every mark of con- 
sideration and respect. So, when she had suffi- 
ciently recovered for her griefs to find utterance, 



WICKED HALF-BROTHERS 

he gathered from her own lips all the circum- 
stances of her story, her name and rank, the 
high and valiant deeds of the Prince her husband, 
and the base ingratitude of his brethren. And 
perceiving that her grief and sufferings had 
so robbed her of the desire of life that without 
some end on which to direct her will she would 
presently pass into a decline, the surgeon en- 
deavoured to arouse her to the 'pursuit of that 
just vengeance which the murder of her husband 
had earned. ' Do not,' he said, ' let the death 
of so noble a Prince become a benefit to his 
enemies. Let us go together to the King of 
Harran, and make known to him the guilt of 
these wicked brethren. For surely the name of 
Codadad should live in story ; but if you, whose 
honour he saved, now sink under your affliction 
his name perishes with you, and you have not 
retrieved your debt.' 

These words roused the Princess from her 
deep despondency ; forming her resolution on 
the surgeon's advice, she arose instantly and 
prepared herself for the journey, and with such 
haste and diligence did she pursue her project 
that within two days she and her companion 
arrived at the city of Harran. 

Here strange news awaited them ; for at all the 
caravanseri it was told how lately there had come 



THE. STORY OF THE 

to the city an exiled wife of the King, Princess 
Pirouze by name, inquiring for news of her lost 
son ; and how, as now appeared, this son had already 
been under a feigned designation at his father's 
court, and after performing many exploits and 
deeds of heroism had disappeared none knew 
whither. Forty-nine sons had the King by 
different wives, but all these, it was declared, he 
would willingly put to death so only that Codadad 
might be restored to him. 

Now when the Princess of Deryabar heard 
this, she said, ' I will go to the Queen Pirouze 
and make known to her the fate of her son, and 
when we have wept together and drawn comfort 
from each other in our grief then we will go be- 
fore the King, and demand vengeance on the 
murderers.' But the surgeon said, ' Have a 
care what you do ; for if the Princes of Harran 
learn of your arrival, they will not rest till they 
have done to you as they did to your husband. 
Let us therefore proceed with secrecy, so as to 
ensure safety, and do you on no account let your 
presence here be known till the King has been 
thoroughly informed of the whole matter/ Then 
leaving the Princess in a place discreetly chosen 
he went forth into the ^treets and began to 
direct his steps towards the palace. Presently 
he was met by a lady mounted upon a mule 



WICKED HALF-BROTHERS 

richly caparisoned, and behind her followed a 
great troop of guards and attendants. As she 
approached the populace ran out of their houses 
and stood in rows to see her go by, and when 
she passed all bowed down with their faces to the 
earth. The surgeon inquired of a beggar standing 
near whether this was one of the King's wives. 
' Yes, brother,' replied the beggar, ' and the best 
of them all ; for she is the mother of Prince 
Codadad, whom, now that he is lost, all hold 
in love and reverence. And thus each day she 
goes to the mosque to hear the prayers which the 
King has ordered for her son's safe return/ 

Seeing his course now clear the surgeon went 
and stood at the door of the mosque, waiting the 
Queen's departure, and when she came forth with 
all her attendants he plucked one of them by the 
sleeve and said to him, ' If the Queen would 
have news of her son, Prince Codadad, let her send 
for the stranger who will be found waiting at the 
door of her palace.' So, as soon as Pirouze had 
returned to her apartments, the slave went in and 
gave his mistress the message. Then she sent 
in all haste and caused the surgeon to be brought 
before her. And the surgeon prostrated himself 
and said, ' O Queen, let not the grief of the tidings 
which I bear be visited upon me but on them 
that were the cause of it.' And she answered 



THE STORY OF THE 

him, ' Have peace, and say on ! ' So he told 
her, as has been here set forth, the full story of 
all the courage and prowess of Codadad, and of 
his generosity towards his brethren, also of his 
marriage to the Princess of Deryabar and of what 
followed after. But when he came to speak of 
the slaying of her son, the tender mother, as 
though receiving in her own body the strokes of 
the murderers fell forward upon the ground, and 
there for a while lay motionless without sign of 
life. When however the surgeon, aided by her 
women, had restored her to consciousness, then 
Pirouze, putting aside all personal grief, set her 
mind upon the accomplishment of the duty which 
now lay before her. ' Go instantly,' she said, ' and 
tell the Princess of Deryabar that the King will 
shortly receive her with all the honour due to 
her rank. As for yourself, be assured that your 
services will be remembered/ 

Hardly had the surgeon departed, when the 
King himself entered, and the sight of his Queen's 
deep affliction at once informed him that some- 
thing dreadful must have occurred. ' Alas,' she 
cried, ' our son no longer exists, nor is it even 
possible to pay to his body those last rites which 
were due to his rank and virtue, for stricken by 
treacherous hands and left to perish unprotected 
he has fallen a prey to wild beasts so that not 



WICKED HALF-BROTHERS 

a trace of him remains.' She then proceeded to 
inform her husband of all the horrible circum- 
stances which the surgeon had narrated. 

But before she had ended the King became so 
transported with rage and grief that he could no 
longer delay the setting in motion of his just 
vengeance. Repairing in haste to the hall of 
audience, where courtiers and suitors stood 
waiting, he summoned to him his grand vizier 
with so much fury of countenance that all 
trembled for their lives. ' Go instantly/ he 
cried, ' arrest all the Princes, and convey them 
under a strong guard to the prison assigned for 
murderers ! ' The vizier, not daring to question 
an order so terribly uttered, went forth and 
fulfilled the King's command with all speed. On 
his return to the palace for the presentation of 
his report, a further order almost equally surpris- 
ing awaited him. The King described to him a 
certain inn lying in a poor quarter of the city. 
' Go thither,' said he, ' take with you slaves 
and high attendants, a white mule from the royal 
stables, and a guard of honour, and bring hither 
with all the respect due to her rank the young 
Princess whom you shall find there.' 

The vizier, with revived spirits, went forth to 
fulfil this second mission, so much more agreeable 
to him than the first ; and presently there arose 



THE STORY OF THE 

from the streets leading to the palace the acclama- 
tions of the populace because of the magnificence 
and splendour which announced the arrival of 
the unknown Princess. The King, as a token 
of respect, stood waiting at the palace gates to 
receive her, and taking her hand he led her to the 
apartments of the Queen Pirouze. Here at the 
meeting of mother and wife a scene of the most 
tender and heart-rending affliction took place. 
The King himself was so moved by it that he 
had not the heart to refuse to them any request. 
So when they came and besought for the absent 
those funeral honours which under other circum- 
stances would have been his due, he gave 
orders for a dome of marble to be erected on the 
plain by which the city of Harran lies surrounded. 
And with such speed was the work put in hand, 
and so large was the number of men employed 
upon it, that within three days the entire building 
was completed. 

On the day following the obsequies began. 
All was done with the greatest solemnity and 
splendour. First came the King attended by 
his vizier and all the officers and lords of his 
palace ; and entering the tomb, in which lay an 
effigy of Codadad, they seated themselves on 
carpets of mourning bordered with gold. Then 
followed the chiefs of the army mounted upon 



WICKED HALF-BROTHERS 

horses and bewailing the loss of him who had 
led them to victory ; behind these came old men 
upon black mules, with long robes and flowing 
beards ; and after these maidens on white horses, 
with heads unveiled, bearing in their hands 
baskets of precious stones. Now when these 
had approached and compassed the dome three 
times about, then the King rose up to speak the 
dismissal of the dead. Touching with his brow 
the tomb whereon the effigy lay, he cried in a 
loud voice, ' O my dear son, O light of mine 
eyes, O joy that is lost to me for ever.' After 
him all the lords and the chiefs and the elders 
came and prostrated themselves in like manner ; 
and when the ceremony was ended the doors 
of the tomb were shut and all the people returned 
to the city. 

Now after this there was prayer and fasting in 
the mosque for eight days, and on the ninth the 
King gave orders that the Princes were to be- 
headed. But meanwhile the neighbouring powers, 
whose arms the King of Harran had defeated, as 
soon as they heard that Codadad was dead, banded 
themselves together in strong alliance, and with 
a great host began to advance upon the city. 
Then the King caused the execution to be post- 
poned, and making a hasty levy of his forces 
went forth to meet the enemy in the open plain. 

5 



THE STORY OF THE 

And there battle was joined with such valour and 
determination on both sides that for a time the 
issue remained doubtful. Nevertheless, because 
the men of Harran were fewer in number they 
began to be surrounded by their enemies ; but 
at the very moment when all seemed lost they 
saw in the distance a large body of horsemen 
advancing at the charge ; and while both com- 
batants were yet uncertain of their purpose, these 
fell furiously and without warning upon the 
ranks of the allies, and throwing them into sud- 
den disorder drove them in rout from the field. 

With the success of their arms thus estab- 
lished the two leaders of the victorious forces 
advanced to meet each other in the presence of 
the whole army, and great was the joy and 
astonishment of the King when he discovered in 
the leader of the lately-arrived troop his lost son 
Codadad. The Prince, for his part, was equally 
delighted to find in his father's welcome the 
recognition for which he had yearned. 

When the long transport of their meeting 
embrace was over, the Prince, as they began to 
converse, perceived with surprise how much 
was already known to the King of past events. 
' What ? ' he inquired, ' has one of my brothers 
awakened to his guilt, and confessed that which 
I had meant should ever remain a secret ? ' 



WICKED HALF-BROTHERS 

' Not so,' replied the King, ' from the Princess 
of Deryabar alone have I learned the truth. For 
she it was who came to demand vengeance for 
the crime which your brothers would still have 
concealed.' 

At this unlooked-for news of the safety of the 
Princess and of her arrival at his father's court, 
Codadad's joy was beyond words, and greatly 
was it increased W 7 hen he heard of his mother's 
reinstatement in the King's favour with the 
honour and dignity due to her rank. He now 
began to perceive how events had shaped them- 
selves in his absence, and how the King had 
already become informed of the bond that existed 
between them. As for the rest of his adventures, 
together with the circumstance which had led to his 
disappearance and supposed death, they were soon 
explained . For when the Princess had left Codadad 
in her desperate search for aid, there chanced 
that way a travelling pedlar ; and he, finding the 
youth apparently deserted and dying of his 
wounds, took pity on him, and placing him upon 
his mule bore him to his own house. There 
with medicinal herbs and simple arts unknown in 
the palaces of kings he had accomplished a cure 
which others would have thought impossible, so 
that in a short time Codadad's strength was com- 
pletely restored. Thereupon the Prince, impatient 



THE STORY OF THE 

for reunion with those whom he loved, bestowed 
on the pedlar all the wealth that he possessed, and 
immediately set forth toward the city of Harran. 

On the road news reached him of the fresh out- 
break of hostilities followed by the invasion of his 
father's territory. Passing from village to vil- 
lage he roused and armed the inhabitants, and by 
the excellence of his example made such soldiers 
of them that they were able in the fortunate 
moment of their arrival to decide the issue of 
the conflict and give victory to the King's arms. 

' And now, sire/ said the Prince in con- 
clusion, ' I have only one request to make : 
since in the event all things have turned out 
so happily, I beg you to pardon my brothers in 
order that I may prove to them in the future how 
groundless were the resentment and jealousy 
that they felt toward me.' 

These generous sentiments drew tears from 
the King's eyes and removed from his mind all 
doubt as to the wisdom of the resolution he had 
been forming. Immediately before the assembled 
army he declared Codadad his heir, and, as an act 
of grace to celebrate his son's return, gave orders 
for the Princes to be released. He then led 
Codadad with all speed to the palace, where 
Pirouze and her daughter-in-law were anxiously 
awaiting them. 



WICKED HALF-BROTHERS 

In the joy of that meeting the Prince and his 
wife were repaid a thousandfold for all the griefs 
and hardships they had undergone : and their 
delight in each other's society remained so great 
that in all the world no happiness has been known 
to equal it. The Princes half died of shame when 
the means by which their pardon had been pro- 
cured was revealed to them ; but before long the 
natural insensibility of their characters reasserted 
itself and they recovered. 



THE 
STORY OF THE MAGIC HORSE 



THE 
STORY OF THE MAGIC HORSE 

IN the land of the Persians there lived in ancient 
times a King who had three daughters and an 
only son of such beauty that they drew the 
eyes of all beholders like moonrise in a clear 
heaven. Now it was the custom in that country 
for a great festival to be held at the new year, 
during which people of all grades, from the 
highest to the lowest, presented themselves before 
the King with offerings and salutations. So it 
happened that on one of these days there came to 
the King as he sat in state three sages, masters 
of their craft, bringing gifts for approval. The 
first had with him a peacock of gold which was 
so constructed that at the passing of each hour 
it beat its wings and uttered a cry. And the 
King, having proved it, found the gift acceptable 
and caused the inventor thereof to be suitably 
rewarded. The second had made a trumpet so 
that if placed over the gates of a city it blew a blast 
against any that sought to enter ; and thus was the 



THE STORY OF 

city held safe from surprise by an enemy. And 
when the King had found that it possessed that 
property, he accepted it, bestowing on its maker 
a rich reward. 

But the gift of the third sage, who was an 
Indian, appeared more prodigious than all, for 
he had brought with him a horse of ivory and 
ebony, for which he claimed that, at the will of 
its owner, or of any one instructed in the secret, 
it would rise above the earth and fly, arriving at 
distant places in a marvellously short space of 
time. The King, full of wonder at such a state- 
ment, and eager to test it, was in some doubt as 
to how he might do so, for the Indian was un- 
willing to part with the secret until secure of the 
reward which in his own mind he had fixed on. 
Now it happened that at a distance of some three 
leagues from the city there stood a mountain the 
top of which was clearly discernible to all eyes ; 
so, in order that the Indian's word might be 
proved, the King, pointing to it, said, ' Go yon- 
der, and bring back to me while I wait the branch 
of a palm-tree which grows at the foot of that 
mountain ; then I shall know that what you tell 
me is true.' 

Instantly the Indian set foot in the stirrup 
and vaulted upon his charger, and scarcely had 
he turned a small peg which was set in the pom- 



fees 







THE MAGIC HORSE 

mel of the saddle, when the horse rose lightly 
into the air and bore him away at wondrous 
speed amid the shouts of the beholders ; and 
while all were still gazing, amazed at so sudden 
a vanishing, he reappeared high overhead, bear- 
ing the palm branch, and descending into their 
midst alighted upon the very spot from which 
he had started, where, prostrating himself, he laid 
the branch at the King's feet. 

The King was so delighted when the wonder- 
ful properties of the horse had been thus revealed 
to him, that, eager to possess it, he bade the 
Indian name his own reward, declaring that no 
price could be too great. Then said the sage, 
' Since your Majesty so truly appreciates the value 
of my invention, I do not fear that the reward 
I ask for will seem too high. Give me in marriage 
the hand of the fairest of your three daughters, 
and the horse shall be yours/ 

At so arrogant a claim all the courtiers burst 
into loud laughter ; the King alone, consumed 
with the desire of possessing the wonderful 
treasure, hesitated as to what answer he should 
give. Then the King's son, Prince Firouz Schah, 
seeing his father lend ear to so shameful a pro- 
posal, became moved with indignation. Deter- 
mined to defend his sister's honour and his own, 
he addressed the King. ' Pardon me, Sire/ 



THE STORY OF 

said he, ' if I take the liberty of speaking. But 
how shall it be possible for one of the greatest 
and most powerful monarchs to ally himself to a 
mere nobody ? I entreat you to consider what 
is due not to yourself alone but to the high blood 
of your ancestors and of your children/ 

' My son,' replied the King of Persia, ' what 
you say is very true, so far as it goes ; but you 
do not sufficiently consider the value of so incom- 
parable a marvel as this horse has proved itself 
to be, or how great would be my chagrin if any 
other monarch came to possess it. And though 
I have not yet agreed to the Indian's proposal, 
I cannot incontinently reject it. But first I 
must be satisfied that the horse will obey other 
hands besides those of its inventor, else, though 
I become its possessor, I may find it use- 
less.' 

The Indian, who had stood aside during this 
discussion, was now full of hope, for he perceived 
that the King had not altogether rejected his 
terms, and nothing seemed likelier than that the 
more he became familiar with the properties of the 
magic horse the more would he wish to possess 
it. When, therefore, the King proposed that 
the horse should be put to a more independent 
trial under another rider, the Indian readily 
agreed ; the more so when the prince himself, 



THE MAGIC HORSE 

relinquishing his apparent opposition, came for- 
ward and volunteered for the essay. 

The King having consented, the prince mounted, 
and eager in his design to give his father oppor- 
tunity for cooler reflection, he did not wait to 
hear all the Indian's instructions, but turning 
the peg, as he had seen the other do when first 
mounting, caused the horse to rise suddenly 
in the air, and was carried away out of sight 
in an easterly direction more swiftly than an 
arrow^shot from a bow. 

No sooner had the horse and its rider disap- 
peared than the King became greatly concerned 
for his son's safety ; and though the sage could 
justly excuse himself on the ground that the young 
prince's impatience had caused him to cut short 
the instructions which would have insured his safe 
return, the King chose to vent upon the Indian 
the full weight of his displeasure ; and cursing 
the day wherein he had first set eyes on the 
magic horse, he caused its maker to be thrown 
into prison, declaring that if the prince did not 
return within a stated time the life of the other 
should be forfeit. 

The Indian had now good cause to repent of 
the ambition which had brought him to this 
extremity, for the prince, of whose opposition to 
his project he had been thoroughly informed, had 



THE STORY OF 

only to prolong his absence to involve him in 
irretrievable ruin. But on the failure of arrogant 
pretensions the sympathy of the judicious is 
wasted ; let us return therefore to Prince Firouz 
Schah, whom we left flying through the air with 
incredible swiftness on the back of the magic 
steed. 

For a time, confident of his skill as a rider 
and undismayed either by the speed or altitude 
of his flight, the prince had no wish to return 
to the palace ; but presently the thought of 
his father's anxiety occurred to him, and being of a 
tender and considerate disposition he immediately 
endeavoured to divert his steed from its forward 
course. This he sought to do by turning in the 
contrary direction the peg which he had handled 
when mounting, but to his astonishment the 
horse responded by rising still higher in the air 
and flying forward with redoubled swiftness. 
Had courage then deserted him, his situation 
might have become perilous ; but preserving his 
accustomed coolness he began carefully to search 
for the means by which the speed of the machine 
might be abated, and before long he perceived 
under the horse's mane a smaller peg, which he 
had no sooner touched than he felt himself de- 
scending rapidly toward the earth, with a speed 
that lessened the nearer he came to ground. 



THE MAGIC HORSE 

As he descended, the daylight in which hither- 
to he had been travelling faded from view, and 
he passed within a few minutes from sunset 
into an obscurity so dense that he could no 
longer distinguish the nature of his environment, 
till, as the horse alighted, he perceived beneath 
him a smooth expanse ending abruptly on all 
sides at an apparent elevation among the objects 
surrounding it. 

Dismounting he found himself on the roof of 
a large palace, with marble balustrades dividing 
it in terraces, and at one side a staircase which 
led down to the interior. With a spirit ever 
ready for adventure Prince Firouz Schah imme- 
diately descended, groping his way through the 
darkness till he came to a landing on the further 
side of which an open door led into a room where 
a dim light was burning. 

The prince paused at the doorway to listen, 
but all he could hear was the sound of men breath- 
ing heavily in their sleep. He pushed the door 
and entered ; and there across an inner thresh- 
old he saw black slaves lying asleep, each with 
a drawn sword in his hand. Immediately he 
guessed that something far more fair must lie 
beyond ; so, undeterred by the danger, he ad- 
vanced, and stepping lightly across their swords 
passed through silken hangings into the inner 



THE STORY OF 

chamber. Here he perceived, amid surround- 
ings of regal magnificence, a number of couches, 
one of which stood higher than the rest. Upon 
each of these a fair damsel lay asleep ; but upon 
that which was raised above its fellows lay a 
form of such perfect and enchanting beauty 
that the prince had no will or power to turn 
away after once beholding it. Approaching the 
sleeper softly, he kneeled down and plucked her 
gently by the sleeve ; and immediately the 
princess for such if rank and beauty accorded 
she needs must be opened to him the depths 
of her lustrous eyes and gazed in quiet amaze- 
ment at the princely youth whose handsome 
looks and reverent demeanour banished at once 
all thought of alarm. 

Now it so happened that a son of the King of 
India was at that time seeking the hand of the 
princess in marriage ; but her father, the King 
of Bengal, had rejected him owing to his fero- 
cious and disagreeable aspect. When there- 
fore the princess saw one of royal appearance 
kneeling before her she supposed he could be 
no other than the suitor whom she knew only 
by report, and shedding upon him the light of 
her regard, ' By Allah/ she said, smiling, ' my 
father lied in saying that good looks were lacking 
to thee ! ' 



THE MAGIC HORSE 

Prince Firouz Schah, perceiving from these 
words and the glance which accompanied them, 
that her disposition towards him was favourable, 
no longer feared to acquaint her with the plight 
in which he found himself ; while the princess, 
for her part, listened to the story of his adven- 
tures with lively interest, and learned, not without 
secret satisfaction, that her visitor possessed a 
rank and dignity equal to her own. 

Meanwhile the maidens who were in attendance 
on the princess had awakened in dismay to the 
unaccountable apparition of a fair youth kneeling 
at the feet of their mistress, and, dreading dis- 
covery by the attendants, were all at a loss 
what to do. The princess, however, seeing that 
they were awake, called them to her with perfect 
composure and bade them go instantly and 
prepare an inner chamber where the prince 
might sleep and recover from the fatigues of his 
journey ; at the same time she gave orders for 
a rich banquet to be prepared against the time 
when he should be ready to partake of it. Then 
when her visitor had retired, she arose and began 
to adorn herself in jewels and rich robes and 
to anoint her body with fragrance, giving her 
women no rest till the tale of her mirror con- 
tented her ; and when all had been done many 
times over, and the last touch of art added to 



THE STORY OF 

her loveliness, she sent to inquire whether the 
prince had yet awaked and were ready to receive 
her. 

Upon the receipt of that message the prince 
rose eagerly, and dressing in haste, although it 
was scarcely yet day, heard everywhere within 
the palace sounds of preparation for the feast 
that was being got ready in his honour. 

Before long the princess herself entered to 
inquire how he had slept, and being fully assured 
on that score, she gave orders for the banquet 
to be served. Everything was done in the 
greatest magnificence, but the princess was full 
of apologies, declaring the entertainment un- 
worthy of so distinguished a guest. You must 
pardon me, prince,' she said, ' for receiving 
you with so little state, and after so hasty a 
preparation ; but the chief of the eunuchs does 
not enter here without my express permission, 
and I feared that elsewhere our conversation 
might be interrupted.' 

Prince Firouz Schah was now convinced that 
the inclinations of the princess corresponded 
with his own ; but though her every word and 
movement increased the tenderness of his pas- 
sion, he did not forget the respect due to her 
rank and virtue. One of her women attendants, 
however, seeing clearly in what direction matters 



THE MAGIC HORSE 

were tending, and fearing for herself the results 
of a sudden discovery, withdrew secretly, saying 
nothing to the rest, and running quickly to the 
chief of the guards she cried, ' O miserable man, 
what sorry watch is this that thou hast kept, 
guarding the King's honour ; and who is this 
man or genie that thou hast admitted to the 
presence of our mistress ? Nay, if the matter be 
not already past remedy the fault is not thine ! ' 

At these words he quickly leapt up in alarm, 
and going secretly he lifted the curtain of the 
inner chamber, and there beheld at the princess's 
side a youth of such fair and majestical appear- 
ance that he durst not intrude unbidden. He 
ran shrieking to the King, and as he went he 
rent his garments and threw dust upon his head. 
' O sire and master/ he cried, ' come quickly 
and save thy daughter, for there is with her a 
genie in mortal form and like a king's son to 
look upon, and if he have not already carried 
her away, make haste and give orders that he 
be seized, lest thou become childless.' 

The King at once arose and went in great 
haste and fear to his daughter's palace. There 
he was met by certain of her women, who, seeing 
his alarm, said, ' O sire, have no fear for the 
safety of thy daughter ; for this young man is 
as handsome of heart as of person, and as his 



THE STORY OF 

conduct is chaste, so also are his intentions 
honourable.' 

Then the King's wrath was cooled somewhat ; 
but since much remained which demanded 
explanation he drew his sword and advanced 
with a threatening aspect into the room where 
his daughter and the Prince still sat conversing. 
Prince Firouz Schah observing the new-comer 
advance upon him in a warlike attitude, drew 
his own sword and stood ready for defence ; 
whereupon the King, seeing that the other was 
the stronger, sheathed his weapon, and with a 
gesture of salutation addressed him courteously. 
1 Tell me, fair youth/ he said, ' whether you are 
man or devil, for though in appearance you are 
human, how else than by devilry have you come 
here ? ' 

' Sire,' replied the youth, ' but for the respect 
that is owing to the father of so fair a daughter, 
I, who am a son of kings, might resent such 
an imputation. Be assured, however, that by 
whatever means I have chosen to arrive, my 
intentions now are altogether human and 
honourable ; for I have no other or dearer 
wish than to become your son-in-law through 
my marriage with this princess in whose eyes it 
is my happiness to have found favour.' 

' What you tell me/ answered the King, 



THE MAGIC HORSE 

1 may be all very true ; but it is not the custom 
for the sons of kings to enter into palaces without 
the permission of their owners, coming, more- 
over, unannounced and with no retinue or mark of 
royalty about them. How, then, shall I convince 
my people that you are a fit suitor for the hand 
of my daughter ? ' 

' The proof of honour and kingship,' answered 
the other, ' does not rest in splendour and retinue 
alone, though these also would be at my call had 
I the patience to await their arrival from that 
too distant country where my father is King. 
Let it suffice if I shall be able to prove my 
worth alone and unaided, in such a manner as 
to satisfy all.' ' Alone and unaided ? ' said the 
King ; ' how may that be ? ' 'I will prove it 
thus,' answered the Prince. ' Call out your 
troops and let them surround this palace ; 
tell them that you have here a stranger, of 
whom nothing is known, who declares that 
if you will not yield him the hand of your 
daughter in marriage he will carry her away 
from you by force. Bid them use all means 
to capture and slay me, and if I survive so 
unequal a contest, judge then whether or no I 
am fit to become your son-in-law/ 

The King immediately accepted the proposal, 
agreeing to abide by the result ; yet was he 



THE STORY OF 

grieved that a youth of such fair looks and 
promise should throw away his life in so fool- 
hardy an adventure. As soon as day dawned 
he sent for his vizier and bade him cause all the 
chiefs of his army to assemble with their troops 
and companies, till presently there were gathered 
about the palace forty thousand horsemen and 
the same number of foot ; and the King gave 
them instructions, saying, ' When the young 
man of whom I have warned you comes forth 
and challenges you to battle, then fall upon and 
slay him, for in no wise must he escape.' He 
then led the prince to an open space whence he 
could see the whole army drawn up in array 
against him. ' Yonder/ said the King, pointing, 
' are those with whom you have to contend ; go 
forth and deal with them as seems best to 
you/ 

' Nay/ answered the prince, ' these are not 
fair conditions, for yonder I see horsemen as 
well as foot ; how shall I contend against these 
unless I be mounted ? ' The King at once offered 
him the best horse in his stables, but the Prince 
would not hear of it. ' Is it fair/ he said, ' that 
I should trust my life under such conditions to 
a horse that I have never ridden ? I will ride 
no horse but that upon which I came hither/ 

' Where is that ? ' inquired the King. ' If 



THE MAGIC HORSE 

it be where I left it,' answered the Prince, ' it is 
upon the roof of the palace.' 

All who heard this answer were filled with 
laughter and astonishment, for it seemed impos- 
sible that a horse could have climbed to so high 
a roof. Nevertheless the King commanded that 
search should be made, and there, sure enough, 
those that were sent found the horse of ebony 
and ivory standing stiff and motionless. So 
though it still seemed to them but a thing for 
jest and mockery, obeying the King's orders they 
raised it upon their shoulders, and bearing it to 
earth carried it forth into the open space before 
the palace where the King's troops were 
assembled. 

Then Prince Firouz Schah advanced, and 
leaping upon the horse he cried defiance to the 
eighty thousand men that stood in battle array 
against him. And they, on their part, seeing 
the youth so hardily set on his own destruction, 
drew sword and couched spear, and came all 
together to the charge. The prince waited till 
they were almost upon him, then turning the peg 
which stood in the pommel of his saddle he 
caused the horse to rise suddenly in the air, and 
all the foremost ranks of the enemy came clash- 
ing together beneath him. At that sight the 
King and all his court drew a breath of astonish- 



THE STORY OF 

ment, and the army staggered and swung about 
this way and that, striking vainly up at the 
hoofs of the magic horse as it flew over them. 
Then the King, full of dread lest this should 
indeed be some evil genie that sought to carry 
his daughter away from him, called to his 
archers to shoot, but before they could make 
ready their bows Prince Firouz Schah had given 
another turn to the peg, and immediately the 
horse sprang upward and rose higher than the 
roof of the palace, so that all the arrows fell 
short and rained destruction on those that were 
below. 

Then the Prince called to the King, ' O King 
of Bengal, have I not now proved myself worthy 
to be thy son-in-law, and wilt thou not give me 
the hand of thy daughter in marriage ? ' But 
the King's wrath was very great, for he had been 
made foolish in the eyes of his people, and panic 
had broken the ranks of his army and many of 
them were slain ; and by no means would he 
have for his son-in-law one that possessed such 
power to throw down the order and establish- 
ment of his kingdom. So he cried back to the 
prince, saying, ' O vile enchanter, get hence as 
thou valuest thy life, for if ever thou darest to 
return and set foot within my dominions thy 
death and not my daughter shall be thy reward ! ' 



THE MAGIC HORSE 

Thus he spoke in his anger, forgetting altogether 
the promise he had made. 

Now it should be known that all this time the 
princess had been watching the combat from the 
roof of the palace ; and as her fear and anxiety for 
the prince had in the first instance been great, so 
now was she overjoyed when she saw him rise 
superior to the dangers which had threatened 
him. But as soon as she heard her father's 
words she became filled with fresh fear lest she 
and her lover were now to be parted ; so as the 
prince came speeding by upon the magic horse 
she stretched up her arms to him, crying, ' O 
master of the flying bird, leave me not desolate, 
for if thou goest from me now I shall die.' 

No sooner did Prince Firouz Schah hear those 
words than he checked his steed in its flight, 
and swooping low he bore down over the palace 
roof, and catching the princess up in his arms 
placed her upon the saddle before him ; and 
straightway at the pressure of its rider the horse 
rose under them and carried them away high in 
air, so that they disappeared forthwith from the 
eyes of the King and his people. 

But as they travelled the day grew hot and the 
sun burned fiercely upon them ; and the Prince 
looking down beheld a green meadow by the side 
of a lake ; so he said, ' O desire of my heart, let 



THE STORY OF 

us go down into yonder meadow and seek rest 
and refreshment, and there let us wait till it is 
evening, so that we may come unperceived to my 
father's palace ; and when I have brought thee 
thither safely and secretly, then will I make 
preparation so that thou mayest appear at my 
father's court in such a manner as befits thy 
rank.' 

So the princess consenting, they went down 
and sat by the lake and solaced themselves 
sweetly with love till it was evening. Then 
they rose up and mounted once more upon the 
magic horse and came by night to the outskirts 
of the city where dwelt the King of Persia. Now 
in the garden of the summer palace which stood 
without the walls all was silence and solitude, 
and coming thither unperceived the King's son 
led the princess to a pavilion, the door of which 
lay open, and placing before it the magic horse 
he bade her stay within and keep watch till his 
messenger should come to take her to the palace 
which he would cause to be prepared for her. 

Leaving her thus safely sheltered, the prince 
went into the city to present himself before the 
King his father ; and there he found him in deep 
mourning and affliction because of his son's 
absence ; and his father seeing him, rose up and 
embraced him tenderly, rejoicing because of his 



THE MAGIC HORSE 

safe return, and eager to know in what way he had 
fared. And the prince said, ' O my father, if it 
be thy good will and pleasure, I have come 
back to thee far richer than I went. For I have 
brought with me the fairest Princess that the 
eyes of love have ever looked upon, and she is the 
daughter of the King of Bengal ; and because of 
my love for her and the great service which 
she rendered me when I was a stranger in the 
midst of enemies, therefore have I no heart or 
mind or will but to win your consent that I may 
marry her.' And when the King heard that, and 
of all that the princess had done, and of how 
they had escaped together, he gave his consent 
willingly, and ordered that a palace should be 
immediately got ready for her reception that she 
might on the next day appear before the people 
in a manner befitting her rank. 

Then while preparation was going forward, 
the prince sought news concerning the sage, for 
he feared that the King might have slain him. 
' Do not speak of him,' cried the King. ' Would 
to Heaven that I had never set eyes on him or his 
invention, for out of this has arisen all my 
grief and lamentation. Therefore he now lies in 
prison awaiting death.' 

' Nay,' said the prince, ' now surely should he 
be released and suitably rewarded, seeing that 



THE STORY OF 

unwittingly he hath been the cause of my 
fortune ; but jio J not give him my sister in 
marriage.' 

^So the King sent and caused the Indian to be 
brought before him clad in a robe of rank. And 
the King said to him, ' Because my son, whom 
thy vile invention carried away from me, hath 
returned safe and sound, therefore will I spare 
thy life. And for the reward of thine ingenuity I 
give thee this robe of honour ; but now take thy 
horse, wherever it may be, and go, nor ever appear 
in my sight again. And if thou wilt marry, seek 
one of thine own rank, but do not aspire to the 
daughters of kings.' 

When the Indian heard that, he dissembled his 
rage, and bowing himself to the earth departed 
from the King's presence. And, as he went, 
everywhere in the palace ran the tale how the 
King's son had returned upon the magic horse t 
bringing with him a princess of most marvellous 
beauty, and how they had alighted in the gar- 
dens of the summer palace that lay outside the 

walls. 

Now when this was told him the Indian at 
once saw his opportunity, and going forth from 
the city in haste he arrived at the summer palace 
before the messenger with the appointed retinue 
which the prince and the King were sending. So 



THE MAGIC HORSE 

coming to the pavilion in the garden he found 
the princess waiting within, and before the door 
the horse of ivory and ebony. Then was his heart 
uplifted for joy, the more so when he perceived how 
far the damsel exceeded in loveliness all that had 
been told of her. Entering the chamber where 
she sat he kissed the ground at her feet ; and she, 
seeing one that wore a robe of office making 
obeisance before her, spake to him without fear, 
saying, ' Who art thou ? ' 

The sage answered, ' O moon of beauty, I am 
but the dust which lies upon the road by which 
thou art to travel. Yet I come as a messenger 
from the King's son who hath sent me to bring 
thee with all speed to a chamber in the royal 
palace where he now awaits thee/ 

Now the Indian was of a form altogether 
hideous and abominable. *The princess looked 
at him, therefore, in surprise, saying, ' Could not 
the King's son find any one to send to me but 
thee ? ' The sage laughed, for he read the 
meaning of her words. ' O searcher of hearts,' 
he said, ' do not wonder that the prince hath 
sent to thee a man whose looks are unat- 
tractive, for because of his love toward thee 
he is grown exceeding jealous. Were it other- 
wise, I doubt not that he would have chosen 
the highest and most honourable in the land ; 



THE STORY OF 

but, being what I am, he has preferred to 
make me his messenger. 

When the princess heard that, she believed 
him, and because her impatience to be with her 
lover was great, she yielded herself willingly into 
his hands. Then the sage mounted upon the 
horse and took up the damsel behind him ; and 
having bound her to his girdle for safety, he 
turned the pin so swiftly that immediately they 
rose up into the air far above the roof of the 
palace and in full view of the royal retinue which 
was even then approaching. 

Now because his desire to be with his beloved 
was so strong, the prince himself had come forth 
before all others to meet her ; and when he saw 
her thus carried away captive, he uttered a loud 
cry of lamentation, and stretched out his hands 
toward her. The cry of her lover reached the 
ears of the princess, and looking down she saw 
with wonder his gestures of grief and despair. 
So she said to the Indian, ' O slave, why art 
thou bearing me away from thy lord, disobeying 
his command ? ' The sage answered, ' He is 
not my lord, nor do I owe him any duty or 
obedience. May Heaven repay on him all the 
grief he has brought on me, for I was the maker 
of this horse on which he won thee, and because 
he stole it from me I was cast into prison. But 



THE MAGIC HORSE 

now for all my wrongs I will take full payment, 
and will torture his heart as he hath tortured 
mine. Be of good cheer, therefore, for doubt not 
that presently I shall seem a more desirable 
lover in thine eyes than ever he was.' 

On hearing these words the princess was so 
filled with terror and loathing that she endea- 
voured to cast herself from the saddle ; but the 
Indian having bound her to his girdle, no present 
escape from him was possible. 

The horse had meanwhile carried them far 
from the city of the King of Persia, and it was 
yet an early hour after dawn when they arrived 
over the land of Cashmire. Assured that he was 
now safe from pursuit, and perceiving an unin- 
habited country below him, the Indian caused 
the horse to descend on the edge of a wood 
bordered by a stream. Here he made the prin- 
cess dismount, and was proceeding to force upon 
her his base and familiar attentions, when the 
cries raised by the princess drew to that spot 
a party of horsemen who had been hunting in 
the neighbourhood. The leader of the party, 
who chanced to be no other than the Sultan of 
that country, seeing a fair damsel undergoing 
ill-treatment from one of brutish and malevolent 
aspect, rode forward and demanded of the Indian 
by what right he so used her. The sage boldly 



THE STORY OF 

declared that she was his wife and that how he used 
her was no man's business but his own. The 
damsel, however, contradicted his assertion with 
indignation and scorn, and so great were her 
beauty and the dignity of her bearing that her 
statement of the case had only to be heard to 
be believed. The Sultan therefore ordered the 
Indian to be bound and beaten, and afterwards 
to be led away to the adjacent city and there 
cast into the deepest dungeon. As for the 
princess and magic horse, he caused them to 
be brought to the palace ; and there for the 
damsel he provided a magnificent apartment 
with slaves and attendants such as befitted 
her rank ; but the horse, whose properties re- 
mained secret, since no other use for it could 
be discovered, was placed in the royal treasury. 
Now though the princess was full of joy 
over her escape from the Indian, and of gratitude 
to her deliverer, she could not fail to read in the 
Sultan's manner towards her the spell cast by 
her beauty. And, in fact, no later than the 
next day, awakened by sounds throughout the 
whole city of tumult and rejoicing, and inquiring 
as to the reason, she was informed that these 
festivities were the prelude to her own nuptials 
with the Sultan which were to be celebrated that 
very day before sundown. 



THE MAGIC HORSE 

At this news her consternation was so great 
that she immediately swooned away, and re- 
mained for a long while speechless. But no 
sooner had she recovered possession of her 
faculties than her resolution was formed, and 
when the Sultan entered, as is customary on 
such occasions, to present his compliments and 
make inquiries as to her health, she fell into an 
extravagance of attitude and speech, so artfully 
contrived that all who beheld her became con- 
vinced of her insanity. And the more surely 
to effect her purpose, and at the same time to 
relieve her feelings, she made a violent attack 
upon the Sultan's person ; nor did she desist until 
she had brought him to recognize that all hopes 
for the present consummation of the nuptials were 
useless. 

On the following day also, and upon every 
succeeding one^the princess showed the same vio- 
lent symptoms whenever the Sultan approached 
her. It was in vain that all the wisest physicians 
in the country were summoned into consulta- 
tion. While some declared that her malady was 
curable, others, to whose word the princess by 
her actions lent every possible weight, declared 
that it was incurable ; and in no case was any 
remedy applied that did not seem immediately 
to aggravate the disorder. 



THE STORY OF 

And here for a while we must leave the princess 
and return to Prince Firouz Schah, whose 
affliction no words can describe. Unable to 
endure the burden of his beloved one's absence 
in the splendours of his father's palace, or to 
leave her the victim of fate without an attempt 
at rescue, he put on the disguise of a travelling 
dervish, and departing secretly from the Persian 
court set out into the world to seek for her. 

For many months he travelled without clue 
or tidings to guide him ; but as Heaven ever 
bestows favour on constancy in love, so it led 
him at last to the land of Cashmire, and to the 
city of its Sultan. Now as he drew near to it by 
the main road, he fell into conversation with a 
certain merchant, and inquired of him as to the 
city and the life and conditions of its inhabitants. 
And the merchant looked at him in surprise, 
saying, ' Surely you have come from a far 
country not to have heard of the strange things 
which have happened here, for everywhere in 
these regions and among all the caravans goes the 
story of the strange maiden, and the ebony horse, 
and the waiting nuptials.' 

Now when the prince heard that, he knew 
that the end of his wanderings was in sight : so 
looking upon the city with eyes of gladness, 
' Tell me,' he said, ' for I know none of these 



THE MAGIC HORSE 

things.' So the merchant told him truly all 
that has here been narrated ; and having ended 
he said, ' O dervish, though you are young, 
you have in your eyes the light of wisdom ; and 
if you have also in your hands the power of 
healing, then I tell you that in this city for- 
tune awaits you, for the Sultan will give even 
the half of his kingdom to any man that shall 
restore health of mind to this damsel.' 

Then the King's son felt his heart uplifted 
within him, howbeit he knew well that the 
fortune he sought would not be of the Sultan's 
choosing ; so parting from the merchant, he 
put on the robe of a physician, and went and 
presented himself at the palace. 

The Sultan was glad at his coming, for though 
many physicians had promised healing and 
had all failed, still each new arrival gave him 
fresh hopes. Now as the sight of a physician 
seemed ever greatly to increase the princess's 
malady, the Sultan led him to a small closet 
or balcony, that thence he might look upon her 
unperceived. So Prince Firouz Schah, having 
travelled so many miles in search of her, saw 
his beloved seated in deep despondency by the 
side of a fountain ; and ever with the tears 
falling down from her eyes she sighed and 
sang. Now when he heard her voice and the 



THE STORY OF 

words, and beheld the soft grief of her counten- 
ance, then the Prince knew that her disorder was 
only feigned ; and he went forth and said to 
the Sultan, ' This malady is curable ; but for 
the cure something is yet lacking. Let me go in 
and speak with the damsel alone, and on my life 
I promise that if all be done according to my 
requirements, before this time to-morrow the cure 
shall be accomplished.' 

At these words the Sultan rejoiced greatly, 
and he ordered the doors of the princess's chamber 
to be opened to the physician. So Firouz Schah 
passed in, and he and his beloved were alone 
together. Now because of his grief and wander- 
ings and the growth of his beard, the face of the 
Prince was so changed that the Princess did not 
know him ; but seeing one before her in the dress 
of a physician she rose up in pretended frenzy 
and began to throw herself about with violence, 
until from utter exhaustion she fell prostrate. 
Thereupon the prince drew near, and called her 
gently by name ; and immediately when she 
heard his voice she knew him, and uttered a loud 
cry. Then the King's son put his mouth to her 
ear and said, ' O temptation of all hearts, now spare 
my life and have patience, for surely I am come 
to save thee ; but if the Sultan learn who I am 
we are dead, thou and I, because his jealousy 



THE MAGIC HORSE 

is great.' So she replied, saying, ' O thou that 
bringest me life, tell me what I shall do ? ' The 
prince said, ' When I depart hence let it appear 
that I have restored to thee the possession of thy 
faculties ; howbeit the full cure is to come after. 
Therefore when the Sultan comes to thee, be 
sad and meek and do not repulse him as thou 
hast done aforetime. Yet have no fear but that I 
will keep thee safe from him to the last.' And 
so saying he left the princess and returned to the 
Sultan, and said to him, ' Go in and see whether 
the cure be not already at work ; but approach 
not near to her, for though the genie that pos- 
sessed her is bound he is not yet cast forth : 
nevertheless to-morrow before noon the remedy 
shall be complete.' 

So the Sultan went and found her even as he 
had been told ; and with joy and gratitude he 
returned to Firouz Schah, saying, ' Truly thou 
art a healer and the rest are but bunglers and 
fools. Now, therefore, give orders and all shall 
be done according to thy will. Doubt not that 
thy reward shall be great.' 

Then the prince said, ' Let the horse of ivory 
and ebony which was with her at the first be 
brought forth and set again in the place where 
it was found, and let the damsel also be brought 
and put into my hand ; and it shall be that when 



THE STORY OF 

I have set her upon the horse, then the evil 
genie that held her shall be suddenly loosed, 
passing from her into that which was aforetime 
his place of bondage. So shall the remedy be 
complete, and the princess find joy in her lord 
before the eyes of ah 1 .' 

Now when the Sultan heard that, the mystery 
of the ebony horse seemed plain to him, and its 
use manifest. Therefore he gave orders that 
with all speed the thing should be done as the 
physician of the princess required it. 

So early on the morrow they brought the horse 
from the royal treasury, and the princess from 
her chamber, and carried them to the place where 
they were first found ; and all about, a great 
crowd of the populace was gathered to behold 
the sight. Then Prince Firouz Schah took the 
princess and set her upon the horse, and leaping 
into the saddle before her he turned the pin of 
ascent, and immediately the horse rose with a 
great sound into the air, and hung above the heads 
of the affrighted populace. And the King's son 
leaned down from the saddle and cried in a loud 
voice, ' O Sultan of Cashmire, when you wish 
to espouse princesses which seek your protection, 
learn first to obtain their consent.' And so 
saying he put the horse to its topmost speed, 
and like an arrow on the wind he and the 



THE MAGIC HORSE 

princess were borne away, and passed and 
vanished, and were no more seen in that land. 
But in the city of the King of Persia great joy 
and welcome and thanksgiving awaited them ; and 
there without delay the nuptials were solemnized, 
and through all the country the people rejoiced 
and feasted for a full month. But because of 
the grief and affliction that it had caused him 
the King broke the ebony horse and destroyed 
its motions. As for the maker thereof, the 
Sultan of Cashmire caused him to be put to a 
cruel death : and thus is the story of the sage 
and his invention brought to a full ending. 



THE FISHERMAN AND THE 

GENIE 



THE FISHERMAN AND THE 

GENIE 

THERE was once an old fisherman who lived in 
great poverty with a wife and three children. 
But though poorer than others he ever toiled in 
humble submission to the decrees of Providence, 
and so, at the same hour each day, he would 
cast his net four times into the sea, and what- 
ever it brought up to him therewith he rested 
content. 

One day, having cast for the first time, he 
found his net so heavy that he could scarcely 
draw it in ; yet when at last he got it to shore 
all that it contained was the carcass of an ass. 

He cast a second time, and found the draught 
of the net even heavier than before. But again 
he was doomed to disappointment, for this time 
it contained nothing but a large earthenware 
jar full of mud and sand. His third attempt 
brought him only a heap of broken old bottles 
and potsherds : fortune seemed to be against 
him. Then, committing his hope to Providence, 



THE FISHERMAN 

he cast for the fourth and last time ; and once 
more the weight of the net was so great that he 
was unable to haul it. When at last he got it 
to land, he found that it contained a brazen 
vessel, its mouth closed with a leaden stopper, 
bearing upon it the seal of King Solomon. 

The sight cheered him. ' This/ thought he, 
' I can sell in the market, where I may get for 
it enough to buy a measure of corn ; and, if one 
is to judge by weight, what lies within may 
prove yet more valuable.' 

Thus reckoning, he prised out the stopper with 
his knife, and turning the vessel upside down 
looked for the contents to follow. Great was 
his astonishment when nothing but smoke came 
out of it. The smoke rose in a thick black 
column and spread like a mist between earth 
and sky, till presently, drawing together, it took 
form ; and there in its midst stood a mighty 
Genie, whose brows touched heaven while his 
feet rested upon ground. His head was like a 
dome, his hands were like flails, and his legs 
like pine trees ; his mouth was black as a cavern, 
his nostrils were like trumpets, his eyes blazed 
like torches, and his wings whirled round and 
over him like the simoom of the desert. 

At so fearful a sight all the fisherman's courage 
oozed out of him ; but the Genie, perceiving 



AND THE GENIE 

him, cried with a loud voice, ' 0, Solomon, 
Prophet of God, slay me not, for never again 
will I withstand thee in word or deed.' 

' Alas ! ' said the fisherman, ' I am no 
prophet ; and as for Solomon, he has been dead 
for nearly two thousand years. I am but a poor 
fisherman whom chance has knocked by accident 
against thy door.' 

' In that case,' answered the Genie, ' know 
that presently thou wilt have to die.' 

' Heaven forbid ! ' cried the fisherman ; ' or, 
at least, tell me why ! Surely it might seem that 
I had done thee some service in releasing thee. 

' Hear first my story,' said the Genie, ' then 
shalt thou understand.' 

' Well, if I must ! ' said the fisherman, resign- 
ing himself to the inevitable ; ' but make it 
short, for truly I have small stomach left in me 
now for the hearing of tales.' 

' Know, then/ said the Genie, ' that I am 
one of those spirits which resisted the power 
and dominion of Solomon ; and when, having 
brought into submission all the rest of my 
race, he could not make me yield to him either 
reverence or service, he caused me to be 
shut up in this bottle, and sealing it with 
his own seal cast it down into the depths of 
the sea. 



THE FISHERMAN 

' Now when I had lain there prisoner for a 
hundred years, I swore in my heart that I would 
give to the man that should release me all the 
treasures attainable in heaven or earth. But 
when none came to earn so great a reward in all 
the hundred years that followed, then I swore 
that I would give to my liberator earthly riches 
only ; and when this gift also had lain despised 
for yet another hundred years, then would I 
promise no more than the fulfilment of three 
wishes. But thereafter finding that all promises 
and vows were vain, my heart became consumed 
with rage, and I swore by Allah that I would 
only grant to the fool that should release me his 
own choice of the most cruel form of death by 
which he should die. Now therefore accept that 
mercy which I still offer and choose thy penalty ! ' 

When the fisherman heard this he gave him- 
self up for lost, yet he did not the less continue 
by prayer and supplication to entreat the Genie 
from his purpose. But when he found that 
there was no heart left in him to be moved, 
then for the first time he bestirred his wits, and 
remembering how that which is evil contains far 
less wisdom than that which is good, and so 
falls ever the more readily into the trap prepared 
for it, he spoke thus : ' O Genie, since thou art 
determined on my death, there is yet a certain 



AND THE GENIE 

thing touching thine honour that I would first 
know. So, by the Ineffable Name, which is the 
seal of Solomon, I will ask thee one question, 
and do thou swear to answer it truly.' 

The Genie was ready enough to give the oath 
as desired. Then said the fisherman, ' How 
is it that one so great as thou art, whose feet 
o'er-step the hills and whose head out-tops the 
heaven how can such an one enter into so 
small a vessel to dwell in it ? Truly, though 
mine eyes tell me I have seen it, I cannot any 
longer believe so great a marvel/ 

' What ? ' cried the Genie, ' dost thou not 
believe what I have already told thee ? ' 

' Not tih 1 I have seen it done can I believe 
it/ said the fisherman. 

Thereupon, without more waste of words, 
the Genie, drawing his limbs together and fold- 
ing himself once more in a thick veil of smoke, 
descended from his vast altitude into the narrow 
neck of the brazen vessel till not one shred or 
film of him remained to view. Then the fisher- 
man with a quick hand replaced the leaden 
stopper, and laughing, cried to the Genie, 
' Choose now, thou in thy turn, by what manner 
of death thou wilt die/ 

The Genie, hearing himself thus mocked, made 
violent efforts to escape ; but the power of the 



THE FISHERMAN 

seal of Solomon held him fast, and the fisher- 
man, ceasing not all the while to revile him for 
the treachery and baseness which were now to 
receive their due reward, began to carry the 
vessel back to the sea's brink. ' Now/ said 
he, ' thou shalt return to the place whence I 
drew thee. And here on the shore I will build 
myself a hut, and to every fisherman that comes 
near I will say, " Look that you fish not in these 
waters, for herein lies bound a wicked genie that 
has sworn to put to a cruel death whoever dares 
to release him." 

' Nay, nay,' cried the Genie, ' I did not mean 
what I said. Ask of me now, and I will give 
you all the treasures that the world contains, or 
that your heart can find in it to desire, if only 
you will set me free ! ' 

The fisherman, being of a mild spirit and 
with no heart for revenge, sat down to consider 
what he should do, and all the while the im- 
prisoned Genie continued to appeal to him for 
compassion with loud promise and lamentation. 
So, at last, the fisherman, having the fear of 
God before his eyes, after he had extracted 
from the Genie a most solemn vow to leave 
him unharmed, drew out the stopper of lead 
and released him. 

No sooner was he out and restored to his 



AND THE GENIE 

true form than the Genie, turning himself about, 
lifted his foot and with his full strength smote 
the brazen vessel far out to sea ; and the fisher- 
man, beholding that act, began to repent him 
of his mercy and to tremble again for dear life. 

But the Genie, seeing his fear, broke into 
huge laughter, and striding on ahead of him 
cried, ' Come, fisherman, and follow me, for 
now I will lead you to fortune ! * 

Meekly at his heels went the old fisherman, 
and leaving behind them the habitations of men 
they ascended a mountain and entered upon a 
desert tract guarded by four hills, in the centre 
of which lay a broad lake. Here the Genie 
stopped, and pointing to a place where fish 
were swimming in abundance bade the fisher- 
man cast in his net. The fisherman did as he 
was told, and when he drew in his net he found 
that it contained four fish each of a different 
colour, a red, a white, a blue, and a yellow : 
never in his life had he seen the like of them. 
The Genie bade him take and offer them to 
the Sultan, assuring him that if he did so they 
should bring him both fortune and honours. 
Then he struck the ground with his foot, and 
immediately the earth opened its mouth and 
swallowed him as the dry desert swallows the 
rain. 



THE FISHERMAN 

The fisherman, wondering no less at his safe 
deliverance than at the marvel of these occur- 
rences, made his way in haste to the city ; and there 
presenting himself at the palace he begged that 
the four fish might be laid at the Sultan's feet, as a 
humble offering from the poorest of his subjects. 

No sooner had the monarch seen them, so 
strange of form and so brilliant and diverse 
in hue, than his longing to taste of them 
became strongly awakened ; so, by the hand of 
his vizier, he sent them to the cook to be pre- 
pared forthwith for the royal table. As for 
the poor fisherman, he received no fewer than 
four hundred pieces of gold from the Sultan's 
bounty, and returned to his family rejoicing in 
an affluence which surpassed his utmost expec- 
tations. 

The cook meanwhile, proud of an opportunity 
to exhibit her culinary skill on dainties so rare, 
scaled and cleaned the fish and laid them in a 
frying-pan over the fire. But scarcely had she 
done so when the wall of the kitchen divided, 
and there issued forth from it a damsel of 
moon-like beauty richly apparelled, holding a rod 
of myrtle in her hand. With this she struck 
the fish that lay in the frying-pan, and cried 

' O fish of my pond, 
Are ye true to your bond ? ' 



AND THE GENIE 

And immediately the four fishes lifted their heads 
from the frying fat and answered 

' Even so, the bond holds yet ; 
Paid by thee, we pay the debt. 
With give and take is the reckoning met.' 

Thereupon the damsel upset the pan into the fire 
and retired through the wall in the same way 
that she had come, leaving the four fish all 
charred to a cinder. 

The cook, beholding her labour thus brought 
to naught, began to weep and bewail herself, 
expecting no less than instant dismissal, and was 
still loud in her lamentations when the vizier 
arrived to see if the fish were ready. 

On hearing her account of what had occurred, 
the vizier was greatly astonished, but feared to 
bring so strange a report to the Sultan's ears 
while the cravings of the royal appetite were 
still unsatisfied ; so recalling the fisherman by 
a swift messenger, he bade him procure in all 
haste four more fish of the same kind, promising 
to reward him according to the speed with which 
he accomplished the task. So spurred, and by the 
additional favour of fortune, the fisherman ful- 
filled his mission in an astonishingly short space 
of time ; but no sooner was the second lot of 
fish placed upon the fire in the vizier's presence 



THE FISHERMAN 

than once again the wall opened, and the damsel 
appearing as before, struck the frying-pan with 
her rod, and cried 

' fish of my pond, 
Are ye true to your bond ? ' 

And immediately the fish stood up on their tails 
in the frying fat and replied 

' Even so, the bond holds yet ; 
Paid by thee, we pay the debt. 
With give and take is the reckoning met/ 

Whereupon she upset the pan into the fire and 
departed as she had come. 

The vizier, perceiving that so strange an event 
might no longer be kept from the royal know- 
ledge, went and informed the Sultan of all that 
had occurred ; and the monarch as soon as he 
had heard the tale, now rendered more eager for 
the satisfaction of his eyes than he had pre- 
viously been for the indulgence of his appetite, 
sent for the fisherman, and promised him yet 
another four hundred pieces of gold if he could 
within a given time procure four more fishes 
similar to those he had already brought on the 
previous occasions. 

If the fisherman had been prompt at the 
vizier's bidding, he made even greater speed to 
fulfil the royal command, and before the day was 



AND THE GENIE 

over this time in the presence of the Sultan 
himself four fish, of four diverse colours like 
to the first, were cleaned and laid into the pan 
ready for frying. But scarcely had they touched 
the fat when the wall opened in a clap like 
thunder, and there came forth with a face of 
rage a monstrous negro the size of a bull, hold- 
ing in his hand the rod of myrtle. With this 
he struck the frying-pan, and cried in a terrible 
voice 

' O fish from the pond, 
Are ye true to your bond ? ' 

And when the fish had returned the same 
answer that the others had made before them, 
without more ado the negro overturned the pan 
upon the fire and departed as he had come. 

When the Sultan's eyes had seen that marvel 
he said to his vizier, ' Here is mystery set 
before us I Surely these fish that talk have a 
past and a history. Never shall I rest satisfied 
until I have learned it.' So causing the fisher- 
man to be brought before him, he inquired 
whence the fish came. The fisherman answered, 
' From a lake between four hills upon the 
mountain overlooking the city.' The Sultan 
inquired how many days' journey it might be, 
and the fisherman replied that it was but a 



THE FISHERMAN 

matter of a few hours going and returning. 
Then to the Sultan and his court it seemed that 
the old man was mocking them, for none had 
heard tell of any lake lying among the hills so 
near to that city ; and the fisherman, seeing his 
word doubted, began to fear that the Genie was 
playing him a trick ; for if the lake were now 
suddenly to vanish away, he might find his 
fortunes more undone at the end than at the 
beginning. 

Yet the Sultan, though his vizier and all his 
court sought to dissuade him, was firmly resolved 
on putting the matter to the proof ; so he gave 
orders that an escort and camping tents should 
be immediately got ready, and, with the fisher- 
man to guide, set forth to find the place that was 
told of. 

And, sure enough, when they had ascended 
the mountain which all knew, they came upon a 
desert tract on which no man had previously 
set eyes ; and there in its midst lay the lake 
filled with four kinds of fish, and beyond it 
stretched a vast and unknown country. 

At this sight, so mysterious and unaccount- 
able, of a strange region lying unbeknownst at 
the gates of his own capital, the monarch was 
seized with an overwhelming desire to press 
forward in solitary adventure to the discovery 



AND THE GENIE 

of its secret. To the cautious counsels of his 
vizier he turned a deaf ear ; but since it would 
not be safe for his subjects to know of his 
departure on an errand so perilous, it was given 
out that he had been stricken by sudden sick- 
ness. The door of the royal tent was closed, 
and at the dead of night the Sultan, admitting 
none but the vizier into his confidence, set out 
secretly on his adventure. 

Journeying by night and resting by day, he 
arrived on the third morning within sight of a 
palace of shining marble which, with its crowd 
of domes and minarets, stood solitary among the 
hills. No sign of life was about it, and when 
he drew near and knocked at the gates none 
came to answer him. Then, finding the doors 
unfastened, he took courage and entered ; and 
advancing through chambers where gold lay as 
dust, and by fountains wherein pearls lay poured 
out like water, he found only solitude to greet 
him. 

Wandering without aim among innumerable 
treasures unguarded and left to waste, the Sultan 
grew weary, and sat down in an embrasure to 
rest. Then it seemed to him that not far off he 
could hear a sorrowful voice chant verses of 
lamentation. Following the sounds with wonder 
he came to a curtained doorway, and passing 

4 



THE FISHERMAN AND THE GENIE 

through found himself in the presence of a fair 
youth richly dressed, seated upon a couch and 
bearing upon his countenance tokens of extreme 
grief and despondency. To the Sultan's proffered 
greeting the youth returned salutation, but did 
not stir from his seat. ' Pardon me he said 
' for not rising ; but my miserable condition 
makes it impossible.' Having said this he 
again broke into doleful lamentation ; and when 
the Sultan inquired as to the cause of so many 
tears, ' See for yourself,' he cried, ' what I am 
now made into ! ' And lifting the skirt of his 
robe he revealed himself all stone from his waist 
to the soles of his feet, while from the waist 
upwards he was as other men. Then as he 
observed upon his visitor's countenance the 
expression of a lively curiosity and astonish- 
ment, ' Doubtless,' he went on, ' as you now 
know the secret of my miserable condition you 
will wish also to hear my story.' And he related 
it as follows : 



THE STORY OF THE KING 
OF THE EBONY ISLES 



THE STORY OF THE KING 
OF THE EBONY ISLES 

MY father was King of the city which once 
stood about this palace. He was lord also of the 
Ebony Isles that are now the four hills which 
you passed on your way hither. When I suc- 
ceeded to the throne upon his death, I took to 
wife my own cousin, the daughter of my uncle 
with whom I lived for five years in the utmost 
confidence and felicity, continually entertained 
by the charm of her conversation and the beauty 
of her person, and happy in the persuasion that 
she found in me an equal satisfaction. 

' One day, however, it chanced, in the hour 
before dinner when the Queen was gone to bathe 
and adorn herself, that I lay upon a couch beside 
which two female slaves sat fanning me ; and 
they, supposing me to be asleep, began to talk 
concerning me and their mistress. " Ah ! " said 
one, '' how little our lord knows where our 
mistress goes to amuse herself every night while 
he lies dreaming ! " " How should he know ? " 



THE STORY OF 

returned the other, " seeing that the cup of wine 
which she gives him each night contains a 
sleeping-draught, that causes him to sleep sound 
however long she is absent. Then at daybreak 
when she returns she burns perfumes under his 
nostrils, and he waking and finding her there 
guesses nothing. Pity it is that he cannot know 
of her treacherous ways, for surely it is a shame 
that a king's wife should go abroad and mix 
with base people." 

' Now when I heard this the light of day grew 
dark before my eyes ; but I lay on and made no 
sign, awaiting my wife's return. And she com- 
ing in presently, we sat down and ate and drank 
together according to custom ; and afterwards, 
when I had retired and lain down, she brought 
me with her own hands the cup of spiced wine, 
inviting me to drink. Then I, averting myself, 
raised it to my lips, but instead of drinking, 
poured it by stealth into my bosom, and imme- 
diately sank down as though overcome by its 
potency, feigning slumber. Straightway the 
Queen rose up from my side, and having clothed 
herself in gorgeous apparel and anointed herself 
with perfumes, she made her way secretly from 
the palace, and I with equal secrecy followed her. 

' Soon passing by way of the narrower streets, 
we arrived before the city gates ; and immedi- 



THE KING OF THE EBONY ISLES 

ately at a word from her the chains fell and the 
gates opened of their own accord, closing again 
behind us as soon as we had passed. At last 
she came to a ruined hut, and there entering I 
saw her presently with her veil laid aside, seated 
in familiar converse with a monstrous negro, the 
meanest and most vile of slaves, offering to him 
in abject servility dainties which she had carried 
from the royal table, and bestowing upon him 
every imaginable token of affection and regard. 

' At this discovery I fell into a blind rage, and 
drawing my sword I rushed in and struck the 
slave from behind a blow upon the neck that 
should have killed him. Then believing that I 
had verily slain him, and before the Queen found 
eyes to realize what had befallen, I departed under 
cover of night as quickly as I had come, and 
returned to the palace and my own chamber. 

' On awaking the next morning I found the 
Queen lying beside me as though nothing had 
happened, and at first I was ready to believe it 
had all been an evil dream ; but presently I 
perceived her eyes red with weeping, her hair 
dishevelled, and her face torn by the passion of 
a grief which she strove to conceal. Having 
thus every reason to believe that my act of 
vengeance had not fallen short of its purpose, I 
held my tongue and made no sign. 



THE STORY OF 

' But the same day at noon, while I sat in 
council, the Queen appeared before me clad in 
deep mourning, and with many tears informed 
me how she had received sudden news of the 
death of her father and mother and two brothers, 
giving full and harrowing details of each event. 
Without any show of incredulity I heard her 
tale ; and when she besought my permission to 
go into retirement and mourn in a manner 
befitting so great a calamity, I bade her do as 
she desired. 

' So for a whole year she continued to mourn 
in a privacy which I left undisturbed ; and during 
that time she caused to be built a mausoleum 
or Temple of Lamentation the same whose 
dome you see yonder into which she withdrew 
herself from all society ; while I, believing the 
cause of my anger removed and willing to 
humour the grief which my act had caused her, 
waited patiently for her return to a sane and 
reasonable state of mind. 

' But, as I learned too late, matters had not so 
fallen : for though in truth the negro was griev- 
ously wounded, being cut through the gullet 
and speechless, it was not the will of Heaven 
that he should die ; and the Queen having by 
her enchantments kept him in a sort of life, no 
sooner was the mausoleum finished than she 



THE KING OF THE EBONY ISLES 

caused him to be secretly conveyed thither, and 
there night and day tended him, awaiting his 
full recovery. 

' At length, when two years were over and her 
mourning in no wise abated, my curiosity became 
aroused ; so going one day to the Temple of 
Lamentation I entered unannounced, and placing 
myself where I might see and not be seen, there 
I discovered her in an abandonment of fond 
weeping over her miserable treasure whose very 
life was a dishonour to us both. But no sooner 
in my just resentment had I started to upbraid 
her, than she as now for the first time realizing 
the cause of her companion's misfortune began 
to heap upon me terms of the most violent and 
shameful abuse ; and when, carried beyond 
myself, I threatened her with my sword, she 
stood up before me, and having first uttered 
words of unknown meaning she cried, 

' Be thou changed in a moment's span ; 
Half be marble, and half be man I ' 

And at the word I became even as you see 
me now dead to the waist, and above living 
yet bound. Yet even so her vengeance was not 
satisfied. Having reduced me to this state, 
she went on to vent her malice upon the city 
and islands over which I ruled, and the unfor- 



THE STORY OF 

tunate people who were my subjects. Thus by 
her wicked machinations the city became a lake 
and the islands about it the four hills which 
you have seen ; as for the inhabitants, who 
were of four classes and creeds, Moslems, 
Christians, Jews, and Persians, she turned them 
into fish of four different colours : the white 
are the Moslems, the red are Persian fire- 
worshippers, the yellow are Jews, and the blue 
Christians. And now having done all this she 
fails not every day to inflict upon me a hundred 
lashes with a whip which draws blood at every 
stroke : and when these are accomplished she 
covers my torn flesh with hair-cloth and lays 
over it these rich robes in mockery. Of a 
surety it is the will of Heaven that I should be 
the most miserable and despised of mortals ! ' 

Thus the youth finished his story, nor when 
he had ended could he refrain from tears. The 
Sultan also was greatly moved when he heard 
it, and his heart became fuh 1 of a desire to 
avenge such injuries upon the doer of them. 
' Tell me,' he said, ' where is now this monster 
of iniquity ? ' ' Sir,' answered the youth, ' I 
doubt not she is yonder in the mausoleum 
with her companion, for thither she goes daily 
so soon as she has measured out to me my 
full meed of chastisement : and as for this day 



THE KING OF THE EBONY ISLES 

my portion has been served to me, I am quit 
of her till to-morrow brings the hour of fresh 
scourgings.' 

Now when this was told him the Sultan saw 
his way plain. ' Be of good cheer,' he said to 
the youth, ' and endure with a quiet spirit yet 
once more the affliction she causes thee ; for 
at the price of that single scourging I trust, 
by the will of Heaven, to set thee free.' 

So on the morrow the Sultan lay in close 
hiding until sounds reached him which told 
that the whippings had begun ; then he arose 
and went in haste to the mausoleum, where 
amid rich hangings and perfumes and the 
illumination of a thousand candles, he found 
the black slave stretched mute upon a bed, 
awaiting in great feebleness the recovered use 
of his sawn gullet. Quickly, with a single 
sword-stroke, the avenger took from him that 
poor remnant of life which enchantment alone 
had made possible : then having thrown the 
body into a well in the courtyard below, he 
lay down in the dead man's place, drawing 
the coverlet well over him. Soon after, fresh 
from her accustomed task of cruelty, the 
enchantress entered, and falling upon her knees 
beside the bed she cried, ' Has my lord still 
no voice wherewith to speak to his servant ? 



THE STORY OF 

Surely, for lack of that sound, hearing lies 
withered within me ! ' Then the Sultan, taking 
to himself the thick speech of a negro, said, 
' There is no strength or power but in God 
alone ! ' 

On hearing those words, believing that her 
companion's speech was at last restored to him, 
the Queen uttered a cry of joy. But scarcely 
had she begun to lavish upon him the tokens 
of her affection when the pretended negro broke 
out against, her in violent abuse. ' What ! ' he 
cried, ' dost thou expect favour at my hands, 
when it is because of thee that for two years I 
have lain dumb and prostrate ? How darest 
thou speak to me or look for any recompense 
save death ! Nay ! ' he went on in answer to 
her astonished protests, ' have not the cries and 
tears and groans of thy husband kept me con- 
tinually from rest : and has not Heaven smitten 
me for no other reason than because thou 
wouldst not cease from smiting him ? So 
has the curse which thou didst seek to lay 
upon him fallen doubly upon me.' 

' Alas ! ' cried the enchantress, ' have I un- 
knowingly caused thee so great an ill ? If it 
be so, then let my lord give command, and 
whatever be his desire it shall be satisfied.' 

Then said the Sultan, ' Go instantly and 



THE KING OF THE EBONY ISLES 

release thy husband from spell and torment : and 
when it is done, return hither with all speed.' 

Thus compelled, in great fear and bewilder- 
ment and sorely against her will, the Queen 
sped to the chamber in the palace where her 
husband lay spell-bound. Taking a vessel of 
water she pronounced over it certain words 
which caused it instantly to boil as though it 
had been set on a fire : then throwing the water 
over him, she cried 

' Spell be loosed, and stone grow warm, 
Yield back flesh to the human form.' 

And immediately on the word his nature came 
to him again, and he leaped and stood upon 
his feet. But the Queen's hatred towards 
him was by no means abated. ' Go hence 
quickly,' she cried, ' since a better will than 
mine releases thee ! But if thou tarry or 
if thou return thou shalt surely die ! ' Thankful 
for his deliverance the youth stayed not to ques- 
tion, but departing went and hid himself with- 
out, while the Queen returned in haste to the 
mausoleum where her supposed lover awaited 
her. There, eager for restoration to favour, she 
informed him of what she had done, supposing 
that to be all. 

' Nay, ' said the other, still speaking with the 



THE STORY OF 

thick voice of a negro ; ' though thou hast lopped 
the branch of the evil thou hast not destroyed 
the root. For every night I hear a jumping of 
fishes in the lake that is between the four hills, 
and the sound of their curses on thee and me 
comes to disturb my rest. Go instantly and 
restore all things to their former state, then 
come back and give me thy hand and I shall 
rise up a sound man once more.' 

Rejoicing in that promise and the expecta- 
tions it held out to her of future happiness, the 
Queen went with all speed to the border of the 
lake. There taking a little water into her hand, 
and uttering strange words over it, she sprinkled 
it this way and that upon the surface of the 
lake and the roots of the four hills, and imme- 
diately where had been the lake a city appeared, 
and instead of fishes inhabitants, and in place 
of the four hills four islands. As for the palace 
it stood no longer removed far away into the 
desert but upon a hill overlooking the city. 

Great was the astonishment of the vizier and 
the Sultan's escort which had lain encamped beside 
the lake to find themselves suddenly transported 
to the heart of a populous city, with streets and 
walls and the hum of reawakened life around 
them ; but a greater and more terrible shock 
than this awaited the Queen upon her return 



THE KING OF THE EBONY ISLES 

to the mausoleum to enjoy the reward of her 
labours. ' Now/ she cried, ' let my lord arise, 
since all that he willed is accomplished ! ' 

' Give me thy hand ! ' said the Sultan, still 
in a voice of disguise ; ' come nearer that I 
may lean on thee ! ' And as she approached he 
drew forth his sword which had lain concealed 
beside him in the bed, and with a single blow 
cleft her wicked body in twain. 

Then he rose and went quickly to where in 
hiding lay the young King her husband, who 
learned with joy of the death of his cruel enemy. 
He thanked the Sultan with tears of gratitude 
for his deliverance, and invoked the blessings 
of Heaven upon him and his kingdom. ' On 
yours too/ said the Sultan, ' let peace and 
prosperity now reign ! And since your city is 
so near to mine, come with me and be my guest 
that we may rejoice together in the bonds of 
friendship/ 

' Nay/ answered the young King, ' that 
would I do willingly, but your country lies many 
a day's journey from my own. I fear the breaking 
of the spell which held me and my subjects 
has brought you further than you wished. 

It was in fact true that the Ebony Isles had 
now returned to the place from which they had 
originally come. The Sultan put a smiling face 



THE KING OF THE EBONY ISLES 

upon the matter : ' I can well put up with the 
tedium of my journey/ said he, ' if only you 
will be my companion. Nay, let me speak 
frankly to one whose demeanour in affliction 
has won my heart ; I am childless and have 
no heir. Come with me and be my son, and 
when I am dead unite our two kingdoms under 
a single ruler. The young King, who had 
conceived for his deliverer an equal affection, 
could not withstand so noble and generous an 
offer ; and so with a free exchange of hearts on 
both sides the matter was arranged. 

After a journey of some months the Sultan 
arrived again at his own capital, where he was 
welcomed with great rejoicings by the people, 
who had long mourned over his strange and 
unexplained absence. 

As for the old fisherman who had been the 
immediate cause of the young King's deliverance 
the Sultan loaded him with honours and gave 
his daughters in marriage to sons of the blood 
royal, so that they all continued in perfect 
happiness and contentment to the end of their 
days.